Visit the ACCC COVID-19 Resource Center & Discussion Group for Insights on Providing Optimal Patient Care During the Pandemic.



In This Section

CMS Issues Sweeping Regulatory Waivers & Changes to Further Expand Telehealth Options

On April 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued another round of sweeping regulatory waivers and rule changes aimed at further increasing access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Among the announced changes, CMS is:

  • Expanding the types of providers able to provide services via telehealth to Medicare beneficiaries to include physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists.
  • Allowing hospitals to bill for telehealth services provided by hospital-based practitioners in Medicare outpatient settings (including when patients are at home when the home is serving as a temporary provider-based department of the hospital). The agency states that this might include counseling, educational, and therapy services.
  • Expanding the types of services reimbursable under Medicare for audio-only telehealth visits to include behavioral health and patient education services, and increasing reimbursement (retroactively to March 1) for audio-only telehealth visits. 
  • Waiving the video requirement for telehealth E/M services. These are now added to the list of audio-only telehealth services that are reimbursable visits.
  • Expediting the process for adding new services to the list of those Medicare services that can be provided by telehealth.
  • Permitting rural health clinics and federally qualified health clinics to provide telehealth as a distant site, thus enabling Medicare beneficiaries to receive care from home.
Read the CMS announcement for full details.

Posted 5/1/2020