CMS unveils physician/hospital-friendly COVID-19 policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will institute some policies that will help physicians and hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic – including the expansion of Medicare coverage for telephone services, significantly expanding the list of telehealth services that are covered (e.g., emergency visits), and clarifying the use of remote patient monitoring for acute conditions like the novel coronavirus. 

“CMS will now pay for more than 80 additional telehealth services,” explains Medical Association of Georgia Executive Director Donald J Palmisano Jr. “These include emergency department visits, initial nursing facility and discharge visits, and home visits – keeping in mind that these services must be provided by a clinician who has telehealth authority.”

Palmisano also notes that CMS now allows authorized clinicians to evaluate their patients on an audio/phone-basis.

And he points out that, “Telehealth can now be used to fulfill a lot of face-to-face visit requirements for patients who are in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, hospice, and home health.” 

CMS fact sheet

CMS press release

AMA statement applauding CMS for its actions