The push for increased telehealth coverage continues during the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”). On October 14, 2020, CMS added 11 new telehealth services available for Medicare reimbursement during the PHE. The newly added services include cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services and certain neurostimulator analysis and programming services. Since the beginning of the PHE, CMS has added over 144 covered telehealth services. A list of services payable under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule when furnished via telehealth is found here.
These newly added services follow data released by CMS, which reflects that over 36% of Medicare beneficiaries (12.1 million people) have received a telehealth service between March and August 2020, and more than 34.5 million services have been delivered via telehealth to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries between March and June 2020.
While the Administration can continue to add benefits and remove regulatory barriers for telehealth during the PHE, significant permanent change will require Congressional action – particularly in relation to the removal of traditional geographic barriers and expansion of eligible telehealth providers.