On October 14th, 2020 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added an additional 11 telehealth services to Medicare Coverage. These services will now be reimbursed for during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This effort to increase telehealth coverage was started by CMS early this year when they announced the coverage of over 80 new services. Since the pandemic began, CMS has added more than 135 services to the Medicare telehealth services list. Eligible practitioners can be reimbursed for these services under Medicare and are effective immediately.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Telehealth Use:
Telehealth services have been used now more than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As patients began to fear the public environment of their medical providers, they turned to telehealth to continue seeking care. More patients than ever before have utilized virtual visits and remote care to get the medical attention they depend on during the global pandemic.
The Benefits of Telehealth Services for Medicare Patients:
Telehealth services offer a wealth of benefits for patients who might be considered high risk during the pandemic or wish to avoid public environments.
Telehealth visits are shorter on average and more accessible to the average patient. They can fit them in their schedule more easily due to the eliminated need for travel time and how quick it is to access the visit. This flexibility can be extremely useful for increasing patient engagement. Patients who travel to and from medical facilities for regular treatment can now receive some forms of treatment from home.
Patients love the convenience of telehealth services. They can avoid taking time off work or traveling long distances and instead access their provider from their computer. In many aspects, telehealth services are similar to in-person visits and can be just as beneficial to the patient.
Patients who are engaged with their providers are more likely to achieve positive outcomes. Telehealth services help increase patient engagement by offering a convenient and accessible way for patients to meet with their doctors.
11 New Telehealth Services Covered by Medicare:
93797: Cardiac rehab
93798: Cardiac rehab/monitor
93750: In-person ventricular assist device interrogation
95970: Electronic analysis of implanted neurostimulator pulse without programming
95971: Electronic analysis of implanted neurostimulator pulse generator/transmitter with programming
95972: Electronic analysis of implanted neurostimulator pulse generator/transmitter
95983: Electronic analysis of implanted neurostimulator pulse generator/transmitter, by a physician or other qualified healthcare professional; with brain neurostimulator pulse generator/transmitter programming; first 15 minutes face-to-face with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional
95984: Electronic analysis of implanted neurostimulator pulse generator/transmitter, by a physician or other qualified healthcare professional; with brain neurostimulator pulse generator/transmitter programming; each additional 15 minutes face-to-face with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional
G0422: Intensive cardiac rehab with exercise
G0423: Intensive cardiac rehab, no exercise
G0424: Pulmonary rehab with exercise
The Future of Telehealth:
While telehealth use might dive down after the pandemic is over, it is still expected to be used by a larger number of patients than before the pandemic. Many patients are trying it for the first time and finding that it makes more sense for their daily life. To learn more about a quality telehealth services solution, click here.