October 15, 2020 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that 11 more telehealth services will qualify for Medicare reimbursement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency also released new resources to help Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs use telehealth during the ongoing national emergency.
The added services primarily cover cardiac rehabilitation, and point to an increased interest among healthcare providers to use remote patient monitoring platforms to improve care management for cardiac care patients at home. They also nod to recent studies suggesting that patients with cardiac issues aren’t accessing routine checkups and other services during the pandemic, putting them at higher risk of a serious health issue.
“CMS is taking action to increase telehealth adoption across the country,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press release. “Medicaid patients should not be forgotten, and today’s announcement promotes telehealth for them as well. This revolutionary method of improving access to care is transforming healthcare delivery in America.”
The new services are:
They join 135 services added to the reimbursement list since May 1, when CMS issued the Interim Final Rule to expand telehealth coverage and access to help providers deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the agency, more than 12.1 million beneficiaries of Medicare fee-for-service programs, or more than 36 percent of the total population, used a telehealth service between mid-March and mid-August of 2020.
With regard to Medicaid and CHIP, CMS has released a new supplement to its State Medicaid and CHIP Telehealth Toolkit: Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth, COVID-19 Version. The updated toolkit offers new examples and advice from states that have expanded their connected health coverage during the crisis.
“It also helps states identify services that can be accessed through telehealth, which providers may deliver those services, the ways providers may use in order to deliver services through telehealth, as well as the circumstances under which telehealth can be reimbursed once the PHE expires,” the agency reported.
According to CMS, between March and June of this year, some 34.5 million services were delivered to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries, a 2,600 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2019.