Dogtown Media Supports Connected Health Technologies by Co-Signing Letter to CMS

June 13, 2018 - 4 minutes read

MedTech app developer

Innovation in MedTech development has enabled us to improve healthcare in myriad ways in a relatively short time. This is especially true of connected technologies like mHealth, telehealth, and remote patient monitoring.

But as with all fast-paced fields, there is always room for improvement. Recently, Dogtown Media co-signed a letter with 49 other organizations to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The letter asks CMS to activate three new remote monitoring codes which have great potential to improve patient outcomes across the United States, from Los Angeles to New York.

Repairing Reimbursement for Remote Monitoring

Connected health technology has improved patient outcomes in a plethora of ways: reduced hospitalizations, greater engagement, and fewer complications touch just the tip of the iceberg. Many of these technological tools integrate patient-generated health data (PGHD) to streamline chronic care management, telehealth services, the use of mobile devices, and clinical decision support, among others.

The recent letter was signed by 50 organizations in the health tech space. Addressed to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, it focuses on remote monitoring codes in the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), a comprehensive listing of fees that Medicare uses to pay healthcare providers and suppliers.

In particular, the letter urges CMS to keep Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Code 99091 (“physician/healthcare professional collection and interpretation of physiologic data stored/transmitted by patient/caregiver”) unbundled. This means that healthcare practitioners who rely on PGHD to remotely monitor patients can receive appropriate reimbursement for the time and effort they spend.

Maintaining a Commitment

The letter also asks CMS to activate, cover, price, and pay for three new codes that were approved by the CPT Editorial Panel in September 2017. This goes hand-in-hand with a commitment made by CMS in the 2018 PFS Final Rule: “to consider new digital health CPT codes created by the American Medical Association CPT Editorial Panel.”

The new CPT codes (990X0, 990X1, and 994X9) all deal with improving remote monitoring. 990X0 pertains to remote monitoring of physiologic parameters such as respiratory rate, blood pressure, and weight. It also encapsulates the necessary initial set-up and patient education of equipment so that parameters are recorded correctly.

990X1 centers around device supply with daily recordings and programmed alerts every 30 days.

Last but not least, 994X9 focuses on remote monitoring treatment management services, and it is counted in intervals of 20 minutes or more of interactive support from a qualified healthcare professional in a given calendar month.

United to Improve Telehealth

The new codes mentioned above were developed by the Digital Medical Payment Advisory Group (DMPAG) of the American Medical Association (AMA). The DMPAG then submitted applications for these codes to the CPT Editorial Panel. After careful consideration and consulting of clinical documentation, the panel approved them.

The clinical documentation and other evidence showed that these new codes could significantly improve patient outcomes, especially for those afflicted with chronic conditions or multiple co-morbidities. They would also drastically help the outcomes of patients having trouble getting adequate healthcare due to limited mobility, geography, and fragile health.

Dogtown Media is extremely proud to stand with the other 49 organizations that co-signed this letter. We’d like to give a big thanks to ACT, the App Association for spearheading this petition. Together, we strongly urge the CMS to consider the multitude of benefits that activating and paying for these codes could bring to patients and healthcare providers across the United States.

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