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Maybe you missed it in the flurry of attention given to the so-called "give-backs" in the health care budget bill passed by Congress late last year, but lawmakers also passed legislation increasing Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine services.
Most experts agree that the technology for proper telemedicine consultation is already here. What has been lacking is an adequate and reliable source of reimbursement to make it financially viable. Many health care insiders feel this action goes a long way toward expanding such services across the country. As such, it maybe time for your practice to start researching a telemedicine option.
Among other things, the bill:
The provisions are scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1, 2001.
Medicare patients have a new benefit that gives them access to medical nutrition therapy to help manage diabetes and kidney disease. Included in the omnibus appropriations measure approved by Congress last December, the provision also makes registered dietitians official Medicare providers.
"The elderly, who struggle with diabetes and kidney disease, will now be able to work with registered dietitians to manage their disease and to prevent further complications through medical nutrition therapy," notes Jane V. White, PhD, president of the American Dietetic Association.
"Medical nutrition therapy" refers to the comprehensive nutrition services provided by registered dietitians as part of an overall health care team. Patients who receive these services require fewer hospitalizations and medications and have reduced incidence of complications. The new Medicare benefit starts Jan. 1, 2002.