On April 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released another Interim Final Rule, implementing significant additional changes for telehealth. Specifically, this Interim Final Rule includes more changes created using the statutory authority of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). These changes come from both new 1135 waivers and the interim final rule – both summarized in the below document.
- CMS expanded the ability to practice telehealth services to all providers eligible to bill Medicare. This should fix concerns about physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others not being on the distant site provider list.
- CMS increased Medicare payment rates for the previously-created audio-only E&M codes, but has not broadly allowed audio to be used for all telehealth delivery. There are focused expansions of audio-only listed here and below in the summary.
- CMS gave itself the authority to make future changes to the telehealth services list through sub-regulatory guidance.
- Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers may bill Medicare for telehealth as per the CARES Act.
- CMS Press release
- Regulation: Medicare and Medicaid IFC: Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (CMS-5531 IFC) (PDF)
- CMS 1135 Blanket Waivers