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Telehealth Expansion and Medicare

posted: March 23, 2020

Regulations on Telehealth have literally lessened overnight, and the medical community is now faced with implementing the use of telemedicine in their practices without delay, and many of them for the first time. Government expansion on telehealth began with President Trump’s emergency declaration on March 13, 2020 which expanded coverage for telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries.

The telehealth expansion allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to expand Medicare’s telehealth benefits under the 1135 wavier authority and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides for $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to COVID-19.

This means limitations on where Medicare patients are eligible for telehealth services has been removed during the emergency. The waiver temporarily eliminates the requirement that the originating site must be a physician’s office or other authorized healthcare facility and allows Medicare to pay for telehealth services when beneficiaries are in their homes or any setting of care.

More information on the telehealth expansion for Medicare can be found here.

Additionally, CPT and HCPCS codes have been established for reporting evaluation and management services provided by phone. These codes are reported based on time, so providers must document the time spent rendering the service

Find out more about the telehealth codes to use here.

You can also refer to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Quick Telehealth Guide for Providers here.

You can view COVID-19 information on the American College of Rheumatology’s website.