CMS to increase pay for audio-only Medicare visits

The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will “increase payments for audio-only telephone visits between Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits. This would increase payments for these services from a range of about $14-$41 to about $46-$110, and the payments are retroactive to March 1, 2020.” 

In addition, nearly 40 U.S. senators signed a letter that was sent to U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma on April 29 to request that…

– Medicare payment rates for telephone-based evaluation and management (E/M) codes (99441-99443) be increased to equal Medicare’s established in person visit codes (99212-99214) to “ensure that patients without advanced video-sharing capabilities are able to get care virtually, while helping to sustain physician practices.” 

– HHS/CMS immediately provide guidance to Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to “ensure that recent CMS guidance and rules are followed appropriately to enable the payment of telephone E/M claims.” 

– HHS/CMS provide members of Congress with a briefing on CMS’ efforts to address this issue by May 8, 2020. 

U.S. Senators’ letter to HHS/CMS