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Analysis

CMS Expands Medicare FFS Telehealth Services

By John Commins  
   October 14, 2020

Medicaid and CHIP have seen the number of services delivered via telehealth increased by more than 2,600%.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Wednesday added 11 new telehealth services that Medicare fee-for-service will pay for during the coronavirus pandemic Public Health Emergency.

The new telehealth services include some neurostimulator analysis and programming services, and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services. Medicare will begin paying for the new telehealth services immediately and for the duration of the PHE.

Since the beginning of the PHE last spring, CMS has used an expedited process to add 144 services to the Medicare telehealth services list – such as emergency department visits, initial inpatient and nursing facility visits, and discharge day management services.

Between mid-March and mid-August more than 12 million Medicare beneficiaries – representing 36% of people with Medicare FFS – have used telemedicine services.

Medicaid, CHIP Telehealth Usage

CMS on Wednesday also released a Medicaid and CHIP data snapshot on telehealth utilization during the PHE.

The data shows that there have been more than 34.5 million services delivered via telehealth to Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program beneficiaries between March and June, an increase of more than 2,600% when compared to the same time last year.

"Medicaid patients should not be forgotten, and today's announcement promotes telehealth for them as well," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said. "This revolutionary method of improving access to care is transforming healthcare delivery in America."

The data also shows that adults ages 19-64 received the most services delivered via telehealth, although there was substantial variance across both age groups and states, CMS said.

“This revolutionary method of improving access to care is transforming healthcare delivery in America.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The new telehealth services include some neurostimulator analysis and programming services, and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services. Medicare will begin paying for the new telehealth services immediately and for the duration of the PHE.

CMS has added 144 services to the Medicare telehealth services list – such as emergency department visits, initial inpatient and nursing facility visits, and discharge day management services.

Between mid-March and mid-August more than 12 million Medicare beneficiaries – representing 36% of people with Medicare FFS – have used telemedicine services.

There have been more than 34.5 million services delivered via telehealth to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries between March and June.


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