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COVID-19: Practice Management


Medicare Fee-for-Service Response to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Published June 19, 2020
In light of the public health emergency due to COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued blanket waivers  for many requirements impacting providers who bill Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS). Providers do not need to apply for individual waivers if a blanket waiver is issued. CMS also published a detailed document with frequently asked questions and answers about Medicare FFS billing during the COVID-19 pandemic .

HHS Allocates Additional Funding for Provider Payments: Apply by July 20

Published June 9, 2020
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is distributing an additional $15 billion to eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers who have not yet received a payment from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Each provider will receive at least 2% of reported gross revenues from patient care. This funding will supply relief from lost revenues or increased expenses due to COVID-19. If you did not already receive a payment and would like to apply for the next round of distributions, submit your information through the Payment Attestation Portal.
The deadline to apply is July 20, 2020.

CPT® Code and Description

Published March 25, 2020
The resources below provide important information COVID-19 related CPT® codes and descriptions. The new coding guidelines are effective immediately and will be standard across the US health system. ICD-10-CM coding guidelines for encounters related to coronavirus are also available. Check the American Medical Association for updated information related to flexible CMS and regulatory flexibility during COVID 19.

Medicare Telehealth Expanded Coverage

Published March 17, 2020
Through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Trump Administration has announced the expansion of Medicare telehealth coverage, effective March 6, 2020. Included below is an important fact sheet and FAQs regarding this expanded coverage.

For more information on the expansion of telehealth services, please review the below guidelines put together by CHEST's Joint Clinical Practice Committee.

CMS Issues Interim Final Rule

Published April 30, 2020
On Thursday, April 30, 2020, CMS released a new Interim Final Rule . During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the Interim Final Rule makes several new, important temporary changes to Medicare regulations and payments. One important change retroactively (to March 1, 2020) increased payments for telephone-only visits to established patients:

  • CPT 99441: a 5- to 10-minute telephone visit, in lieu of a face-to-face office visit, will be reimbursed at a similar rate to a 99212, about $46 (99441 is usually reimbursed at about $14).
  • CPT 99442: an 11- to 20-minute telephone visit, in lieu of a face-to-face office visit, will be reimbursed at a similar rate to a 99213, about $76 (99442 is usually reimbursed at about $28).
  • CPT 99443: a 21- to 30-minute telephone visit, in lieu of a face-to-face office visit, will be reimbursed at a similar rate to a 99212, about $110 (99443 is usually reimbursed at about $41).

These telephone codes may be used when addressing a new or old problem for established patients, and the time accrued includes the billing provider total time throughout a 7-day period, including review of chart, records, images; and communicating with the patient. There should not be another patient encounter for 7 calendar days before or after the telephone visit.

In addition, the new Interim Final Rule now allows attending physicians at teaching institutions providing supervision to report for telephone (using 99441-99443) or video (using 99212-99215) telemedicine encounters by residents, when the supervision is provided immediately after the resident encounter, rather than during the telephone or video visit.

A CMS press release about the rule is available at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-issues-second-round-sweeping-changes-support-us-healthcare-system-during-covid.