Balderson, Porter, Dunn and Murphy Introduce Bill Expanding Remote Monitoring Access for Seniors
Washington, September 25, 2023
Tags: Health Care Access
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Reps. Troy Balderson (R-OH), Katie Porter (D-CA), Neal Dunn, M.D., (R-FL), and Greg Murphy, M.D., (R-NC) introduced the Expanding Remote Monitoring Access Act, bipartisan legislation that would ease restrictions on health care providers and allow more seniors to benefit from remote monitoring services. The remote monitoring program has the potential to further reduce long-term health care costs, improve health outcomes, and increase options for seniors.
Remote monitoring devices and technology enable health care providers to observe and treat patients from the comfort of their own homes. With remote monitoring, providers are able to catch adverse health events earlier and keep their patients out of the hospital.
“We should be doing everything we can to improve access to health care services for seniors,” said Balderson. “Remote monitoring is a valuable tool for patients across Ohio, especially for those who live in rural communities with few health care facilities in their area. I am proud to introduce the Expanding Remote Monitoring Access Act because it will lower costs while improving health outcomes.”
“Too many patients struggle to get consistent or follow-up care, especially those in rural communities or families without stable transportation options,” said Porter. “By making it easier for Americans on Medicare to get remote monitoring services, we are lowering costs and expanding care options—a win for patients and taxpayers.”
“Remote monitoring is an important tool for disease management and can help to reduce hospital readmissions,” said Dr. Dunn. “Innovation in the medical field is making it easier than ever for patients to share data without physically traveling to their doctor, which is important for those living in rural communities. Our seniors should have access to the option of remote monitoring, when appropriate, to improve outcomes and reduce complications.”
“Remote monitoring is an incredible digital technology that enables patients and physicians to better manage one’s health, particularly for chronic conditions,” said Dr. Murphy. “Expanding access to this technology will improve health outcomes for patients, reduce hospital readmissions, and extend physicians’ bandwidth to take on a greater caseload. I’m grateful for my colleague Rep. Troy Balderson’s leadership in this space and I’m proud to support this legislation.”
“The ATA and ATA Action commend Congressman Balderson and Congresswoman Porter for their leadership in introducing this important legislation,” said Kyle Zebley, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, American Telemedicine Association, and Executive Director, ATA Action. “Increasing access to both remote physiologic monitoring and remote therapeutic monitoring devices covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services allows for greater choices for clinically appropriate care for Medicare beneficiaries. We proudly endorse this legislation and urge other advocates of telehealth to do the same.”
“Virtual care and remote monitoring are key to creating a more convenient, efficient, and modern health care delivery system. The Expanding Remote Monitoring Access Act will allow for the expanded use of current and future technologies, leading to better patient outcomes at reduced costs,” said Brett Meeks, Executive Director of the Health Innovation Alliance.
“More than ever clinicians are leveraging digital health technology to capture real-time data to empower those living with chronic conditions and better manage patients’ health outside of acute care settings,” said Claudia Tucker, Senior Vice President, Teladoc Health. “We are pleased to support legislation from Representatives Balderson and Porter that would ensure Medicare beneficiaries can access a broader range of remote monitoring technologies and take steps toward addressing the chronic disease crisis in the U.S.”
“Telehealth has expanded to include remote monitoring of chronic conditions. I commend Rep. Balderson for furthering Medicare coverage of this important methodology of care and studying its benefits,” said Arick Forrest, MD, MBA, Vice Dean of Clinical Affairs, Ohio State University College of Medicine, President of OSUP and Faculty Group Practice, Medical Director, Ambulatory Services. “This represents the future of how health care will be provided. Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as other diseases, have monitoring equipment that automatically uploads data that is reviewed by a health care practitioner. Patients with changing symptoms are contacted and referred for further care as needed, ensuring conditions are managed before they become acute, resulting in better outcomes and lower total cost of care. This is especially true for chronic conditions that represent 80% of the cost of healthcare. In addition, this technology has the potential to effectively and efficiently address the needs of underserved and vulnerable populations.”
“OhioHealth aims to keep care local for all of our patients, across our growing footprint,” said Jeff Kasler, a spokesperson for OhioHealth. “Remote patient monitoring is one tool that proves especially valuable for our seniors and rural patients. We support Congressman Balderson’s foresight and leadership in fostering access to care via remote patient monitoring for some of our most vulnerable patients.”
“We know that for many people, the best place to receive the care they need is in their own homes,” said Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., F.C.C.M., Chief Quality & Clinical Transformation Officer at University Hospital. “This is particularly true for seniors and those who might struggle with getting to a hospital. Remote patient monitoring is now an integral part of our care-delivery model. Now is not the time to go back.”
“Our analysis during Covid demonstrated the use of remote monitoring reduced hospitalization by 87%, mortality by 77% and cost the average patient $11,500 less than admission,” Pronovost continued. “Most importantly, patients loved it because they slept in their own bed, ate their own food, wore their own clothes and were surrounded by the love of their loved ones.”
“The use of care management services has been instrumental in providing care to rural patients outside of the traditional office visit," said Sarah Hohman, Director of Government Affairs for the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. “Rural Health Clinics look forward to expanding such services to include Remote Patient Monitoring and Remote Therapeutic Monitoring in 2024, and thank Representative Balderson and Representative Porter for their leadership on these issues - ensuring that the full potential of RPM/RTM services can be experienced by RHCs and the patients they serve.”
The American Heart Association and Medical Device Manufacturers Association also endorsed the legislation.
Providers currently bill Medicare if they monitor a patient for at least 16 days within a 30-day period. During the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) lowered the duration required to bill for remote monitoring services to only two days of data collection.
In addition to extending the two-day CMS billing threshold for two years, the legislation would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report to Congress within one year, analyzing a proper long-term CMS billing threshold and providing a savings estimate from earlier interventions and fewer days of hospitalizations. The report provides flexibility to the HHS Secretary to recommend multiple billing thresholds and any new remote monitoring code durations. It also requires the Secretary to consult with providers, patient groups, technology and device manufacturers, and others to understand the remote monitoring experience from all perspectives.
These services have shown to be an effective alternative to in-person clinical observation for acute and chronic medical conditions. In 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs found that patients with chronic conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes, who were enrolled in remote monitoring programs saw a 53% decrease in bed days and a 33% reduction in hospital admissions. Furthermore, a 2022 JAMA analysis of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who received pulmonary rehabilitation resulted in a net cost savings per patient of $5,721.
To read the Expanding Remote Monitoring Access Act, click HERE.
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