Beneficiaries are eligible for telehealth services only if they are presented from an originating site located either in a rural HPSA or in a county outside of an MSA.
Entities participating in a Federal telemedicine demonstration project that were approved by or were receiving funding from the Secretary of Health and Human Services as of December 31, 2000, qualify as originating sites regardless of geographic location. Such entities are not required to be in a rural HPSA or non-MSA.
An originating site is the location of an eligible Medicare beneficiary at the time the service being furnished via telecommunications system occurs. Originating sites authorized by law are listed below.
The office of a physician or practitioner;
A critical access hospital (CAH);
A rural health clinic (RHC);
A federally qualified health center (FQHC);
A hospital-based or critical access hospital-based renal dialysis center (including satellites) (Effective January 1, 2009.);
A skilled nursing facility (SNF) (Effective January 1, 2009.);
A community mental health center (CMHC) (Effective January 1, 2009.).
NOTE: Independent renal dialysis facilities are not eligible originating sites
Effective October 1, 2001, coverage and payment for Medicare telehealth includes consultation, office visits, individual psychotherapy, and pharmacologic management delivered via a telecommunications system. E ligible geographic areas include rural health professional shortage areas (HPSA) and counties not classified as a metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Additionally, Federal telemedicine demonstration projects as of December 31, 2000, may serve as the originating site regardless of geographic location.
An interactive telecommunications system is required as a condition of payment; however, BIPA does allow the use of asynchronous “store and forward” technology in delivering these services when the originating site is a Federal telemedicine demonstration program in Alaska or Hawaii. BIPA does not require that a practitioner present the patient for interactive telehealth services.
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