Monday, May 24, 2010

CMS to Announce Proposed Rule on Telemedicine Credentialing

The May 25 issue of the Federal Register will include a notice of proposed changes to the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation (CoPs) regarding the credentialing and privileging of telemedicine providers.

The proposed rule would permit the governing body at a hospital where a patient is receiving telemedicine services to rely on information from a hospital where the provider is currently privileged (distant-site) when making its own privileging decisions. In order to rely on information from the distant-site, the hospital where services are being received must ensure that
  • "the distant-site hospital providing the telemedicine services is a Medicare-participating hospital;
  • the individual distant-site physician or practitioner is privileged at the distant-site hospital providing telemedicine services, and that this distant-site hospital provides a current list of the physician's or practitioner's privileges;
  • the individual distant-site physician or practitioner holds a license issued or recognized by the State in which the hospital, whose patients are receiving the telemedicine services, is located; and
  • with respect to a distant-site physician or practitioner granted privileges by the hospital, the hospital has evidence of an internal review of the distant-site physician's or practitioner's performance of these privileges and sends the distant-site hospital this information for use in its periodic appraisal of the individual distant-site physician or practitioner."

The proposed rule would also require that the periodic review information submitted to the distant-site include adverse events and complaints received about the physician or practitioner.

The proposed rule was created to address the redundant collection of information at both the distant-site and the site where services are received. CMS also recognized that the current requirements were burdensome on small hospitals where telemedicine would be an asset, but the collection of credentialing and privileging information for all telemedicine providers would be a burden.

Under the proposed rule, CMS estimates that the cost to hospitals to implement the rule will be minimal. In its cost analysis, CMS included a breakdown of the cost and time that would be spent by Medical Staff Coordinators or Medical Staff Credentialing Managers to prepare and send performance reports to hospitals receiving telemedicine services.

CMS is collecting comments through July 26. NAMSS has identified the telemedicine CoPs as a source of redundancy in the credentialing and privileging and is pleased to see that CMS is taking steps to streamline these processes.

To read the full announcement, click here:

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