CHRONIC Act, which expands Medicare coverage for telemedicine, passes in Senate

Oct 1, 2017

Senate Bill 870, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act of 2017, or CHRONIC Act for short, has passed in the Senate by a unanimous vote. Among other things, the bill, which was originally introduced in April by Senator Orrin Hatch (R – Utah), includes provisions that would expand Medicare coverage for telemedicine.

Along with expanding telemedicine coverage under Medicare Advantage Plan B in 2020 and giving Accountable Care Organizations more freedom to use telemedicine, key provisions in the CHRONIC bill extend the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ home-based primary care teams for people with multiple chronic conditions. The bill would extend this “Independence at Home” demonstration to two years and increase the maximum allowable number of Medicare beneficiaries in the program from 10,000 to 15,000.

One proposal in the bill would allow a patient’s home dialysis facilities to count as a recognized originating site for telehealth visits. Another eliminates location restrictions on telestroke consultations.

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