Proposals to stem the increase in the cost and improve the efficiency of the delivery of health care services usually include the promotion of telemedicine. A shortage of health care professionals in rural and under served urban areas also makes remote medical visits and services a logical option. The American Telemedicine Association this week released two reports on the state of implementing telemedicine programs in the 50 states. The report cites gaps in coverage and reimbursement policies and state physician practice standards and licensure rules.
HealthBeat’s Kerry Young reported in July that the key to an expansion of telemedicine lies with the adoption of the concept by the largest purchaser of health care services, the federal government. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is taking a cautious approach due to conflicting recent studies that offer mixed reviews on the effectiveness of telemedicine. For this year, CMS has widened the geographic limits that previously restricted remote treatment services and allows telemedicine services reimbursement for 1 million more people enrolled in Medicare.