by Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
October 20th, 2020
By now we are all getting accustomed to the frequent changes that affect covered telehealth services and covid testing codes. On October 14, 2020, CMS announced further changes to expand telehealth coverage. Eleven (11) new codes have been added to their list of covered services bringing the current total to 144 services. The new services include some neurostimulator analysis and programming services as well as some cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.
These additional services will be covered during the current PHE. However, coverage for these particular codes began on October 14, 2020 and services provided prior to this date are not covered as a telehealth service.There is no retroactive telehealth coverage.
The announcement (see References below) also stated that CMS is providing additional support to state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their efforts to expand access to telehealth services. CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “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. President Trump will not let the genie go back into the bottle.”
Services provided via telehealth to Medicaid patients have experienced a 2,600% increase over the previous year. While this is good news, there is still room for improvement in trying to reach rural areas as well as those who do not have access to reliable computer service. To assist states who are trying to expand telehealth, CMS created a new toolkit designed to help with the process.