Medicare Press Release Expands Telehealth
CMS announced additional changes to support the U.S. Healthcare System during COVID-19 Pandemic.
Today, April 30, 2020, CMS announced additional changes to support the U.S. Healthcare System during COVID-19 Pandemic. The Press Release included many additional waivers and rule changes including the following:
- Since some Medicare beneficiaries don’t have access to interactive audio-video technology that is required for Medicare telehealth services, or choose not to use it even if offered by their practitioner, CMS is waiving the video requirement for certain telephone evaluation and management services, and adding them to the list of Medicare telehealth services. As a result, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to use an audio-only telephone to get these services.
- Includes office and outpatient visit codes. To view the list of covered Telehealth services for PHE for the COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 1, 2020: CLICK HERE
- CMS previously announced that Medicare would pay for certain services conducted by audio-only telephone between beneficiaries and their doctors and other clinicians. Now, CMS is broadening that list to include many behavioral health and patient education services. CMS is also increasing payments for these telephone visits to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits. This would increase payments for these services from a range of about $14-$41 to about $46-$110. The payments are retroactive to March 1, 2020.
- Until now, CMS only added new services to the list of Medicare services that may be furnished via telehealth using its rulemaking process. CMS is changing its process during the emergency, and will add new telehealth services on a sub-regulatory basis, considering requests by practitioners now learning to use telehealth as broadly as possible. This will speed up the process of adding services.
There were no specific coding changes included with this update, you will continue to code as we have been directed. CMS has not updated their FAQ.
READ MORE ABOUT THE ADDITIONAL EXPANSIONS WITHIN THE PRESS RELEASE: CLICK HERE
Link to more specifics on the changes: CLICK HERE