Joint Commission calls CMS revised telemedicine standards a "positive step"

Accreditation Connection, May 13, 2011

The Joint Commission has released an official statement reacting to revisions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to its telemedicine credentialing and privileging requirements, set to go into effect July 5, 2011.

These revised requirements align with The Joint Commission’s long-standing stance that heavy credentialing and privileging requirements for telemedicine healthcare providers are an excessive burden to hospitals and actually impede access to specific healthcare services.

The Joint Commission’s standards, which are upheld by these CMS revisions, allow hospitals to rely upon information from the accredited telemedicine entity or distant-site hospital when making credentialing and privileging decisions for telehealth providers, rather than forcing the hospital to conduct its own credentialing and privileging process for each telehealth provider.

“The Joint Commission is very pleased that CMS has revised its telemedicine requirements to provide more flexibility to hospitals and lessen their regulatory burden,” Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president of The Joint Commission, said in an official statement following the CMS announcement. “This is an especially positive step for improving access to care for patients in rural areas. Of particular importance is the fact that critical access hospitals will have additional avenues to benefit from the services of particularly skilled physicians and practitioners.”

The Joint Commission’s official press release can be found on the organization's web site. 

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