Enhanced Medicare payments for telemedicine and home health services are among the goals of a new Frontier Community Integration Project Demonstration, according to program FAQs released by the CMS.
Critical access hospitals (CAHs) that receive funding through the Rural Hospital Flexibility Program and are located in densely populated states will be able to apply for funding to develop and test new healthcare models.
Targeted interventions include enhanced Medicare payment for telemedicine, allowing enhanced nursing facility level care within the CAH (in addition to the 25 beds currently allowed), a mileage-based add-on to Medicare payment for home health services, and enhancement of the current cost-based reimbursement provisions for Medicare payment for ambulance services.
The demonstration will provide enhanced reimbursement for telemedicine services. While program officials have studied the Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model of care, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and believe it could be supported as a specific arrangement under the Frontier Community Health Integration Project demonstration, CMS will not provide additional funding for particular services being reimbursed by the ECHO model.
The demonstration will focus on the delivery of home health services that are CAH-owned and operated. Visiting Nurse Service expansion will not be reimbursed, officials say.
The eligible entities will be limited to CAHs meeting the criteria and located in Alaska, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Applications are due May 5, 2014.
Source: CMS, April 3, 2014
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