States could take a two-pronged approach to extend Medicaid telephonic or audio-only coverage beyond the pandemic, according to Jacqueline Marks, a manager with the Manatt Health division of the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips law firm.

Under the approach, included in a list of suggested policy actions she drafted, states would:

1) Create a policy that allows coverage for audio-only interactions in place of in-person or video visits for select services that can be properly handled by a telephone call and 

2) Develop telephonic evaluation and management codes that allow providers to receive some reimbursement for brief check-ins over the phone.

“Both types of audio-only visits will be important to maintain after the public health emergency ends, in order to ensure equal access to care for all patients, regardless of their location or income level,” she said.

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