CMS updates telehealth list, cautions organization to pay attention to billing rules

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

CMS released an updated list of Medicare telehealth services on March 30. In response to the public health emergency, the agency rapidly expanded and evolved its coverage of telehealth services and eligibility requirements. Services recently added to the list, effective March 1, include numerous audiology and speech-language pathology services. All services on the list are payable under the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.

CMS is also reminding providers to ensure that Medicare claims for telehealth are correctly billed. The agency notes that a 2018 Office of Inspector General audit found that CMS paid practitioners for some telehealth claims that did not meet Medicare requirements and that Medicare could have saved more than $3 million during the audit period if telehealth claims had been billed appropriately.

CMS recommends that organizations review the agency’s most recent guidance on telehealth billing, including the Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services video and the list of covered telehealth services. Organizations should also refer to CMS’ COVID-19 FAQs on Medicare fee-for-services billing for answers to specific questions about billing for telehealth services under a COVID-19 emergency waiver. The agency has also published a list of general telehealth resources, including general and site-specific telehealth toolkits and information Medicaid and CHIP telehealth billing.

Editor’s note: Read additional NAHRI coverage of telehealth news here.