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CMS Publishes Proposed Rule on Privileging of Telemedicine Professionals

On May 26, 2010, CMS published a proposed rule revising the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) to give hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) more flexibility in credentialing and privileging telemedicine physicians and practitioners (while not prohibiting hospitals from continuing to use traditional credentialing and privileging process if they please).

The proposed CAH CoP requirements closely resemble the proposed hospital CoPs, but also include language permitting the originating site’s governing body to grant privileges to telemedicine professionals based upon the recommendations of the originating site’s medical staff, so long as the following requirements are met:

• The distant-site hospital is a Medicare-participating hospital • The telemedicine professional is privileged at the distant-site hospital, and the originating hospital has a list of the privileges • The telemedicine professional holds a license issued or recognized by the state in which the originating hospital is located • The originating hospital has evidence of its internal review of the telemedicine professionals’ performance • For non-CAH hospitals, the originating site’s governing body ensures that services are provided pursuant to a written agreement between the originating and distant sites, and that according to such agreement, the distant-site is responsible for ensuring that the services provided meet the existing CoP requirements under 42 CFR §§ 482.12(a)(1) through (a)(7).
• For CAHs, the originating site’s governing body ensures that services are provided pursuant to a written agreement between the originating and distant-sites, and the agreement states that the distant-site is responsible for ensuring that the services provided meet the requirements set forth under 42 CFR §§ 485.616(c)(1)(i) through (c)(1)(vii).

The proposed rule’s 60-day comment period ends on July 26, 2010, after which it is likely that it will be quickly finalized.

For more information, please visit the HLP website or contact Robert S. Iwrey, Esq. at (248) 996-8510.

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