CMS issues final rule on telemedicine credentialing and privileging

CMS has just released the final rule implementing changes to the Medicare Conditions of Participation for the credentialing and privileging of telemedicine physicians and practitioners. The Medicare CoPs previously required the governing body of a hospital to make all privileging decisions based on the recommendation of the hospital’s medical staff after the medical staff had thoroughly reviewed the credentials of practitioners applying for privileges. Similarly, each CAH was required to have its privileging decisions made by its governing body or the individual responsible for the CAH. This requirement was applied regardless of whether the services are to be provided onsite at the hospital or through a telecommunications system. Today’s final rule allows the hospital or CAH receiving the telemedicine services to rely upon credentialing and privileging information from the hospital providing the telemedicine services as long as certain conditions are met. In an expansion of what was proposed, CMS also agreed to allow hospitals to receive telemedicine services from another telemedicine entity, such as a physician group or other entity. This provision should clarify some of the questions which have been raised regarding remote radiology interpretation services. The changes implemented by the rule should enable hospitals to make greater use of telemedicine services. The rule will be published in the May 5 Federal Register and take effect 60 days later.

SCHA Contact: Jim Walker

05-04-2011 09:26 (EDT)