On November 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized changes to the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule and the Quality Payment Program.
One of the adjustments involves telehealth.
For the first time, Medicare will pay providers for communication technology-based services like brief check-ins between patients and clinicians. It will also pay separately for the remote evaluation of recorded video and/or images submitted by an established patient.
Through the rule, CMS is also expanding the number of Medicare-covered telemedicine services to include “prolonged preventive service(s).”
CMS Administrator Seema Verma tweeted specifically about the virtual care changes:
For the 1st time, Medicare will pay for virtual consultations between physicians, evaluation of remote pre-recorded images & video, & an expanded list of telehealth services- saving beneficiaries from the burden of unnecessary travel to the doctor’s office https://t.co/F0neVzC11z
— Administrator Seema Verma (@SeemaCMS) November 1, 2018
These adjustments don’t come as too much of a surprise, as CMS originally proposed them back in July.
Last Friday, CMS issued a different proposed rule regarding telehealth and Medicare Advantage. The changes would allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer “additional telehealth benefits” not otherwise available in Medicare to enrollees and would be effective in plan year 2020.
Photo: bernardbodo, Getty Images