CMS Update on Telehealth Services in Medicaid and Medicare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded the list of telehealth services that Medicare Fee-For-Service will pay for during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). CMS is also providing additional support to state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their efforts to expand access to telehealth. These actions are in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access to improve the health of all Americans by increasing access to better care.

CMS is adding 11 new services to the Medicare telehealth services list since the publication of the May 1, 2020, COVID-19 Interim Final Rule with comment period (IFC). Medicare will begin paying eligible practitioners who furnish these newly added telehealth services effective immediately (including certain neurostimulator analysis and programming services, and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services).

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To further drive telehealth, CMS is releasing a new supplement to its State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit: Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth, COVID-19 Version that provides numerous new examples and insights into lessons learned from states that have implemented telehealth changes. The updated supplemental information is intended to help states strategically think through how they explain and clarify to providers and other stakeholders which policies are temporary or permanent. 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 toolkit includes approaches and tools states can use to communicate with providers on utilizing telehealth for patient care. It updates and consolidates in one place the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and resources for states to consider as they begin planning beyond the temporary flexibilities provided in response to the pandemic.

To view the Medicaid and CHIP data snapshot on telehealth utilization during the PHE, please visit: https://www.medicaid.gov/resources-for-states/downloads/medicaid-chip-beneficiaries-COVID-19-snapshot-data-through-20200630.pdf.