Telemedicine utilization by providers in accountable care organizations
Accountable care organizations (ACOs) aim to improve healthcare quality and reduce spending. Telemedicine, or the remote delivery of healthcare services using a variety of telecommunications devices, offers the potential to advance these goals by expanding patients’ timely access to care, reducing costs, and enabling better coordination of care among providers and care settings (1). Recognizing the potential value telemedicine offers to ACOs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provided fraud and abuse waivers protecting ACO participants who share in the costs of telemedicine services. CMS is now proposing additional changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program to further accelerate telemedicine use (2). While Medicare policy to promote telemedicine has largely focused on ACOs, the current use of telemedicine by ACO providers is unknown.