Telemedicine News Alert
Santa Barbara, CA, May 26, 2010 - Today in the Federal Register, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is recommending new regulations for credentialing and privileging of physicians and practitioners providing telemedicine services in support of the current process used by many telemedicine programs. A copy of the proposed rule can be found on ATA's website at www.americantelemed.org.
According to the summary of the rule, the proposed regulations would "revise the conditions of participation (CoPs) for both hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs). These revisions would allow for a new credentialing and privileging process for physicians and practitioners providing telemedicine services."
In an American Telemedicine Association (ATA) special announcement yesterday it stated, "Almost ten years ago, the ATA worked with the Joint Commission to develop a process and standards whereby one accredited hospital could accept the credentialing and privileging of physicians providing telemedicine services from another accredited hospital - a process referred to as 'by proxy.' However, CMS had been insisting that as of July 15 all hospitals would have to comply with the outmoded Medicare requirement that each hospital fully and independently credential and privilege each telemedicine practitioner in order to qualify under the CMS 'Conditions of Participation' for the facility. This would have forced many telemedicine networks to close or shrink."
The ATA announcement goes on to say, "The new rule appears to ensure that Medicare-participating hospitals will be able to credential and grant privileges to telemedicine physicians in a manner similar to the Joint Commission process. The new flexibility under the proposed rule would reduce the burden and duplicative nature of the traditional credentialing and privileging process for Medicare-participating hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals that are engaged in telemedicine agreements, while still assuring accountability to the process."
A public comment through CMS for this proposed regulation is open through July 26th, 2010. We hope that you will take time to study the rule, and provide your feedback as appropriate. The Federal Register document states multiple avenues for public comment, one of which is via their website at www.regulations.gov. Search "Proposed Rules" with the ID of
CMS-3227-P. Alternatively, this link will take you directly to the document: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/
Please help us in supporting this important advancement for telemedicine.