The Women Neurology Group (WNG) and Alliance for Advancement of Neuroscience, a nonprofit organization of over 3,500 female neurologists from around the world with 3,000 active members in the US, have issued a letter to policymakers advocating for the continued use of telemedicine and focusing on service and payment parity across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The WNG notes that despite national advocacy efforts for continued use of telemedicine during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial insurers have reduced or stopped payment for telemedicine services as of June 1, 2020. The WNG asks that state government and insurance representatives continue the current policies established by the department of health CARES-Act waiver. This includes payment parity for evaluation and management (E/M) services for new and established patients via telemedicine, elimination of the originating site requirement, modification of direct supervision requirements to allow supervision via telehealth, and coverage of the remote physiologic monitoring codes and telephone services for E/M.
The WNG further advocates that reimbursement for subsequent inpatient and nursing facility visits be determined by medical necessity. They note a need for clear definitions of what is appropriate and reasonable rather use of an arbitrary number applied to all patients without regard for their individual circumstances.
In this letter, the WNG notes that there is much research to show that history taking, discussion, and development of plan of care can be accomplished via a telemedicine platform and reimbursement should reflect this. Research conducted by a survey the Alliance for Connected Care and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 59% of the 500 participants were more likely to use telehealth services now than previously, and 36% would switch their physician in order to have access to virtual care.
The letter is signed not only by the WNG, but also 18 state neurologic societies, 3 academic institutions, 2 State osteopathic societies and 20 patient advocacy groups.