Dateline: Telehealth and COVID-19
CMS issued guidance this afternoon on expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the guidance, Medicare will pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth across the country, including in patient’s places of residence, retroactive to March 6, 2020. CMS does not plan to enforce any requirement that visits be provided by physicians or practitioners with an established relationship with the patient. Telehealth visits will be paid at the same rate as regular, in person visits. Read CMS’ fact sheet on waiver of telehealth requirements. CMS has also published a FAQ on the waiver, available here.
Contemporaneously, the HHS OIG issued a Policy Statement that it will not impose administrative sanctions if “a physician or other practitioner reduces or waives cost-sharing obligations…that a beneficiary may owe for telehealth services furnished consistent with the then-applicable coverage and payment rules” if “the telehealth services are furnished during the time period subject to the COVID-19 Declaration.” Read the Policy Statement.