Nebraska hospitals criticize BCBS telehealth reimbursement cuts

Nebraska Hospital Association president Jeremy Nordquist called Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska's decision to reduce telehealth reimbursements for providers a "devastating" and "shortsighted" cut, the Omaha World Herald reported Sept. 6. 

Blue Cross is now paying providers of medical telehealth visits half of what it pays for in-office visits, Mr. Nordquist told the World Herald. The reimbursement cuts came as part of the new agreements between the payer and hospitals that went into effect July 1.

Mr. Norquist said that many providers in the state won't be able to afford to offer telehealth medical services at the lower rate, according to the report. Analyses by the organization and conversations with hospital officials indicated that the costs of in-person and telehealth visits are similar and providers' time commitment is the same for both types of visits. 

Blue Cross officials told the World Herald that the new payment rate is still at or above pre-pandemic reimbursement levels and it is not the only payer making adjustments now that the COVID-19 pandemic has eased.

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