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Medicare to Cover Telehealth for COVID-19

Today, the Trump Administration further broadened access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries for services starting March 6, 2020, and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Specifically, the Administration has indicated that:

  • Telehealth visits will be considered the same as in-person visits and will be paid at the same rate as regular, in-person visits
  • Medicare will make payment for professional services furnished to beneficiaries in all areas of the country in all settings
  • Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to beneficiaries in any healthcare facility and in their home
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General is providing flexibility for health care providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal health care programs
  • To the extent the 1135 waiver requires an established relationship, HHS will not conduct audits to ensure that such a prior relationship existed for claims submitted during this public health emergency

A fact sheet on this announcement and a frequently asked questions document are available on the CMS website.

Earlier this week, the President’s proclamation declaring a national emergency concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak enabled access to flexibilities included in the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act passed on March 6. The act specifically waived geographic and site restrictions. It also established that a provider must have a pre-existing relationship with a patient before utilizing telehealth. 

For additional information, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s senior vice president, strategic integration, or Kate Slatt, HAP’s vice president, innovative payment and care delivery.

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