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Medicare has proposed changes to increase access to virtual care. The proposal from the Center for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) would ensure that physicians are paid for virtual check-ins, for examining photos submitted by patients, and for offering preventive services. This could specifically help diabetes care, as remote care programs like Glooko, Livongo, Medtronic, mySugr, Omada, Onduo, One Drop, and Virta could all benefit. Though Medicare began covering the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) in April, digitally delivered versions will likely not be reimbursed, as CMS does not categorize those as telehealth.

The changes would also simplify paperwork. The estimated time savings for physicians with a heavy Medicare workload is about one hour per week. CMS also outlined lowering out-of-pocket costs for medications received in a doctor’s office, such as infusions. This could lower the cost of dialysis, but we are eager to see more specifics if and when the proposed changes are finalized.

If you’d like to submit a public comment on these changes, you can do so here.