As Congress continues its work to develop a Medicare package, it should recognize the potential for remote patient monitoring to improve patient care – and reduce costs – for patients suffering from chronic diseases like congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, and diabetes. Compelling evidence suggests that remote monitoring is an economically viable, proven way to help alleviate some of the growing pressures on health care spending. Unfortunately, a lack of Medicare reimbursement for physicians who utilize these technologies is hindering patient access.

Remote monitoring technologies provide clinicians with real-time information on a patient’s condition, regardless of geographic distance, enabling physicians to evaluate and manage a patient’s condition without the need for an office visit. Use of remote monitoring often translates into fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations. It is particularly useful for patients living in rural areas, who often have to travel many miles to receive care.

Clinicians are able to make better informed decisions with the data they receive through remote monitoring; however, doctors currently are not reimbursed by Medicare for time spent analyzing, evaluating and responding to data sent remotely. It is essential for Congress to pass The Remote Monitoring Access Act of 2007, currently pending in the Senate Finance Committee, to require reimbursement for remote monitoring services to improve care for patients living with chronic diseases.