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Medicare Lifts Telehealth Restrictions

Medicare Lifts Telehealth Restrictions

Aligned with the almost daily changes to the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS announced an expansive lifting of telehealth restrictions on March 17, 2020. These sweeping actions are being taken to limit exposure of our vulnerable Medicare population while allowing them to continue to seek care.

CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, announced these actions during a press conference with President Trump and the COVID-19 Task Force. Telehealth updates released today include:

  • Expansion of telehealth to 62 million beneficiaries under the Emergency Declaration
  • Full telehealth benefits to all Medicare beneficiaries in all states; Services approved in more settings including nursing homes, HOPDS, and other.
  • Temporary waiver of HIPAA requirements related to telehealth allowing physicians to use their own phones to provide services
  • Enforcement discretion related to collecting Medicare copayments
  • State Medicaid agencies are now allowed to provide Telehealth services without Federal approval
  • Commercial / Private payers are asked to expand their Telehealth services and “make it clear to their providers and members what they cover”

CMS has formally released a fact sheet which reviews these changes and the applicability to Medicare telehealth visits, virtual check-ins, and E-visits. Most notably, CMS will allow for reimbursement of any telehealth covered code regardless of its relation to Covid-19 diagnosis, screening or treatment.

Applicable codes are as follows:

For more information, please visit:
https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet


This post was first published March 17, 2020 and was updated July 29, 2020.

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