The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that telehealth reimbursement rates will be reviewed and assessed after the COVID-19 pandemic to make telehealth expansion permanent. CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated in a blog post that telehealth services that were expanded and implemented during the pandemic may be made permanent.
In order to make the telehealth expansion permanent post-pandemic, the CMS will need to asses the supply costs for telehealth services, as well as telehealth reimbursement rates. In terms of reimbursement rates, in-person care includes a bigger cost to cover for resources such as patient gowns, cleaning, disinfectants and other supplies, which is accounted for in the Medicare reimbursement rates. The CMS will need to consider telehealth resource costs in order to assess reimbursement rates for telehealth visits.
The CMS will also need to consider other areas, such as patient safety and clinical appropriateness. The CMS also needs to consider healthcare fraud and Medicare program integrity when assessing the permanent status of telehealth expansion.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has been an extremely central strategy for healthcare, allowing providers to continue seeing their patients without risking patients and healthcare providers to any COVID-19 exposure. Virtual care through telehealth and telephonic care have allowed healthcare staff and providers to safely provider care through smartphones, tablets and other technology.
To accommodate providers who utilize telehealth services to see patients, Medicare had implemented a lot of payment flexibilities, including expanding Medicare telehealth to more Medicare beneficiaries and allowing more providers to be eligible for telehealth billing.
Read the original article from RevCycleIntelligence here.