Why Medicare Beneficiaries Are Embracing CCM and RPM

Remote healthcare has been a real game-changer for chronic disease sufferers. Discover why Medicare beneficiaries are embracing CCM and RPM.

Chronic care management has come a long way in recent years. Improvements in technology have made it easier for patients to receive regular care through remote monitoring, telehealth, and telemedicine—something that’s vital in helping patients achieve a good quality of life. The high quality of telehealth services today can be seen in the 99% satisfaction rate among telehealth patients. 


Remote healthcare is growing in popularity, bringing benefits for providers and users alike. However, despite that, uptake has been slow: there are still obstacles stopping medicare beneficiaries from receiving the help they need for their chronic health conditions. 

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In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why medicare beneficiaries are finally embracing CCM and RPM. We’re also going to address some of the roadblocks stopping patients from getting the care they need.


Chronic Care Management (CCM) and Remote Physiologic Monitoring (RPM)


What is Chronic Care Management? 


CCM is a broad term that encompasses any activity that involves healthcare professionals helping patients with chronic diseases, including: 


  • Chronic fatty liver disease 
  • Cirrhosis
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure 
  • Sleep Apnea 


Care involves oversight and education to help patients understand their condition and live with it better. It also includes motivating patients to take up and continue with therapies designed to help them achieve a better quality of life. 


What is Remote Physiologic Monitoring?


RPM is real-time monitoring of a patient’s health (heart rate, glucose levels, sleep patterns, etc.) via various devices. It helps doctors keep tabs on a patient’s health, but also helps patients monitor and control their own care by giving them access to the data they need in real-time. This gives them more control over their wellbeing and improves their independence while minimizing the need for them to visit doctor’s clinics or hospitals. The knock-on benefits of this include fewer health-related complications and minimized costs for patients and providers alike. 


Remote monitoring, combined with trend analysis, makes it easier to detect problems earlier, reducing emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and the duration of hospital stays.


How Do CCM and RPM Help with Management of Chronic Diseases?


Traditionally, CCM has proven difficult: there’s been little coordination between providers and treatments—while care for chronic conditions is itself complicated. This makes it tricky for patients to both find the care they need and stick to a program once they do. 


Furthermore, chronic care patients often have several coexisting conditions, which may require separate healthcare professionals. If they’re not coordinated, care will be compromised. 


Research has shown that patients who receive fragmented care are substantially more likely to be admitted into the emergency department. In fact, patients with three to four chronic conditions and fragmented care were 14 % more likely to visit the ED, and 6% more likely to have a hospital admission. This puts additional strain on both the patients and healthcare systems. 


CCM and RPM make it easier to unify care for patients and provide better quality care. To summarize, benefits include: 


  • Improved monitoring and care for chronic condition sufferers 
  • Fewer emergency room visits 
  • Reduced burden on the healthcare system
  • Improved quality of care for patients 
  • Improved outcomes due to early detection and monitoring 
  • Better education and confidence among patients 
  • Improved patient accountability and awareness 


Why CCM Medicare Beneficiaries Have Been Slow to Adopt CCM and RPM So Far


Beneficiaries benefit from CCM and RPM—when they can access it. Medicare’s CCM code 99490 pays doctors a set fee per month per beneficiary. Physicians are now paid for remote time they spend on behalf of qualifying beneficiaries. Surprisingly, many doctors have been slow to adopt, saying the time and cost involved in setting things up is prohibitive. Meanwhile, some report patients complaining about having to pay more. 


“There’s no question that getting patients to pay more is a potential issue,” says Samuel Church, MD, a family physician in Hiawassee, Georgia.


Church believes doctors need to be paid for extra work they do on behalf of their patients in the background.


“…before there was not a mechanism to do that, but now there is. And usually, they say they’re thrilled to have that attention paid to their record. They want to be followed more closely,” he says.


The Benefits of CCM and RPM


CCM and RPM can improve patient care and provide additional revenue for providers. Patient satisfaction rates have been high, with one report finding beneficiaries are 95% satisfied with their access to general care. It’s not just the patients who benefit, either. The families of those using the services see advantages, too. 


“When adult children come in with their elderly parents, they’re delighted. They say ‘Wow. This is great. Someone else is regularly checking on my mom and dad’,” says Hugh Taylor, MD, a family physician in Hamilton, Massachusetts. 


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Luckily, there’s growing support for patient-centric, preventative care models thanks to progressive action by the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) to modernize healthcare through technology to improve quality of life for patients. 


Benefits CCM and RPM bring to beneficiaries: 


  • Improved access to general care 
  • Easy access to healthcare professionals via telecommunication
  • Reduced out-of-pocket costs
  • Lower wait times
  • Better independence due to remote real-time data 
  • Greater independence to monitor their own health


How Can ChronWell Help?


ChronWell offers digital healthcare services, including Chronic Care Management that encompasses the unique needs of people managing obesity, NAFLD, and other chronic conditions.


The program includes a physician-approved care plan delivered by a team of experts. It also includes 24/7 access to a clinician, with monthly remote catch-ups that encompass referral management, medication management, and care plan adherence for increased patient satisfaction.


If you’d like to find out more about digital healthcare solutions for chronic conditions, speak to one of our experts today.


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