Thursday, November 1, 2007

Device Makers Push Bill To Reimburse for Telemedicine

Device Makers Push Bill To Reimburse for Telemedicine

The Advanced Medical Technology Association is pushing legislation pending in the Senate that would require Medicare to reimburse physicians for remotely monitoring patients with chronic diseases, which the group argues can enhance care and reduce hospitalizations, Government Health IT reports.

AdvaMed is trying to get the bill, with some of its coverage scaled back to reduce costs, included in the Medicare bill being drafted in the Senate Finance Committee.To support its position, AdvaMed released a report, called "Telehomecare and Remote Monitoring: An Outcomes Review," which details the Veterans Health Administration's advanced use of telemedicine.

The report notes that some studies on the benefits of remote patient monitoring do not rigorously compare patient outcomes of those with home monitoring against those without. The report also acknowledges that some costs will increase as a result of remote monitoring.

However, the report concludes that evidence shows remote monitoring "may be one of the only economically viable ways to manage an aging population, the prevalence of chronic disease and the growing constraints on health care spending" (Ferris, Government Health IT, 10/31).

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