On Friday, March 27, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an expansion of its accelerated and advance payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers. The intent of the program is to ensure that providers have the resources needed to combat the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This program expansion, which includes changes from the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is an attempt by CMS to lessen the financial hardships of providers facing extraordinary challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that providers can focus on patient care. There has been significant disruption to the healthcare industry, with providers being asked to delay non-essential surgeries and procedures, other healthcare staff […]
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Centers for Medicare and Medicare (CMS) have updated their policy on provision and payments for patient visits conducted via telehealth. Prior to the crisis, most payers only paid for certain telehealth patient encounters and often required modifiers and lowered reimbursement rates. However, in March 2020, CMS fully allowed all patient encounters conducted via telehealth to be coded with modifiers and at 100% reimbursement levels. These policies are meant to encourage all encounters that can be done in non-face-to-face manner to reduce direct interaction between physicians, patients, patient families, and staff. Several national private payers have also similarly allowed telehealth visits without restrictions. Click here to see CMS update on telehealth policies. Click here […]
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidance to health care providers on prevention of COVID-19 spread through physician offices as well as how to protect patients, staff and providers from exposure. This guidance is intended to provide physician offices with resources for staff and patients as well as manage offices in safe and sanitary methods. Click here for more information on CDC guidance and guidelines.
On March 17, 2020, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that in light of the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency, it is exercising its enforcement discretion and, effective immediately, will not impose penalties on physicians using telehealth in the event of noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Physicians may seek to communicate with patients and provide telehealth services through remote communications technologies. Some of these technologies, and their use, may not fully comply with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules. The March 17 announcement means that physicians who want to use audio or video communication technology to provide telehealth to patients during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency can use any […]