How RPM Can Benefit RHCs & FQHCs Through COVID-19 and Beyond

News | October 8th, 2020

At the start of 2020, widespread use and adoption of remote patient monitoring (RPM) was still struggling to get off the ground, despite the technology being available for years. A majority of the hesitancy on RPM implementation was due to limited reimbursement opportunities as well as lack of incentives for providers offering such services.

Then COVID-19 hit. When the WHO officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, restrictions were lifted for virtual care to ensure patients had access to care despite periods of quarantines and shutdowns. This included the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allowing for flexibilities in telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

The Benefits of RPM Tech During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nearly seven months later, RPM has been extremely beneficial to both providers and patients throughout the pandemic. While patients could not go into their doctor’s office to receive care due to stay-at-home orders and risk of exposure to COVID-19, RPM became an essential way for physicians to monitor their patients.

Specifically, RPM has provided physicians with the ability to monitor patients without becoming disconnected from high-risk populations and helped eliminate the need for non-essential in-person visits, therefore decreasing the chances of patient and provider exposure to COVID-19.

And now that both physicians and patients are seeing the value of RPM, in both reducing time and healthcare costs, as well as an overwhelming amount of evidence detailing improved disease management, it’s clear RPM is here to stay.

Calling for Permanent RPM Reimbursement Reform

Despite the proven advantages and benefits of RPM, however, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs), which are crucial components for ensuring providers can reach and improve care in underserved populations, are not currently eligible to receive reimbursement. This must change.

FQHCs and RHCs are safety nets for many individuals in need, providing essential health services, such as primary care, chronic disease management and preventative care, even if patients have no health insurance -- thus, greatly improving outcomes in such populations. Due to this promise, these community-based healthcare centers must have access to innovative tools, such as RPM and telehealth, in order to provide better access to care for populations that need it most.

Despite current barriers, however, the Federal Communications Commissions’ COVID-19 Telehealth Program is providing $200 million in funding, appropriated by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help healthcare leaders “provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” With this funding, healthcare organizations like FQHCs have an opportunity to implement and adopt new tools that enable them to provide continuous, virtual models of care.

Choosing the Right RPM Solution

For healthcare providers and organizations looking to implement and adopt RPM technology in a post-COVID world, however, there are a few things to keep in mind. Seek solutions that:

  • Support multiple disease states and use-cases
  • Integrate with your established EMR to further ensure a holistic, interoperable solution
  • Embed actionable insights and clinical decision support
  • Have little or no patient intervention needed to transmit the data to the platform, as RPM technology should be largely invisible to the patient

Rimidi’s next-generation RPM solution combines patient-generated health data from connected devices like blood pressure cuffs, scales, and blood-glucose meters with clinical data from the EMR to enable a continuous model of chronic disease management and to efficiently achieve quality measures. And whether you’re a leading medical center, multi-specialty practice, FQHC or RHC, the Rimidi platform is designed to meet your needs.

To learn more about how our RPM tool can help benefit your FQHC or RHC, contact a member of our team today.