Health care providers are actively pursuing telemedicine advancements despite reimbursement and regulatory challenges, according to a new survey of senior health care executives released today by Foley & Lardner LLP.
“The reimbursement landscape is already changing, and there are many viable options for getting compensated for practicing telemedicine,” said Larry Vernaglia, chair of Foley’s Health Care Practice. “The smartest thing organizations can do now is to continue developing programs, and be ready for the law to catch up -- because it will.”
The survey asked senior executives of for-profit and non-profit health care providers about the future of telemedicine and how their organizations are navigating regulatory and reimbursement hurdles, as well as other barriers to widespread adoption of telemedicine. Key findings in the 2014 Telemedicine Survey Report include:
Industry leaders believe telemedicine has arrived. Why? For the majority of respondents, it’s simple – they believe telemedicine will keep patients healthier.
As health care providers move from a fee-for-service model to one that reimburses based on positive patient outcomes, executives face increased financial pressure to keep patients healthy. Given that the Affordable Care Act penalizes hospitals for excessive numbers of readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions, remote touch points may be more profitable.
“In the post-Obamacare paradigm, providers bear a much greater responsibility for the sustained wellness of their patients,” said Nathaniel Lacktman, a partner and health care lawyer at Foley. “Telemedicine offers new ways for providers to manage this new level of risk and keep their patients healthy, happy and out of the hospital.”
Leaders were less confident about telemedicine’s imminent adoption, primarily due to reimbursement issues. Regulators and insurers have made it challenging to get paid for medicine practiced outside of traditional interactions.
View Foley’s 2014 Telemedicine Survey Report.