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Telehealth Resources at Your Fingertips

CMS Medicare COVID-19 Resources

 
CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES (CMS) Special Edition – Friday, May 29, 2020

New COVID-19 FAQs on Medicare Fee-for-Service Billing

CMS released additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on our recent COVID-19-related waivers to help providers, including physicians, hospitals, and rural health clinics. Find more answers to questions on:

  • Outpatient therapy
  • Telehealth and appropriate coding
  • Federally qualified health centers

Bookmark this document and check back for additional updates.For More Information:

The Medicare Learning Network®, MLN Connects®, and MLN Matters® are registered
trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

  
Fact sheet

On May 22, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that implements a subset of the proposals from the February 18, 2020, proposed rule (85 FR 9002). This first final rule focuses on more immediate regulatory actions.

 
 
 
     

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today finalized requirements that will increase access to telehealth for seniors in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, expand the types of supplemental benefits available for beneficiaries with an MA plan who have chronic diseases, provide support for more MA options for beneficiaries in rural communities, and expand access to MA for patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Together, the changes advance President Trump’s Executive Orders on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors and Advancing American Kidney Health as well as several of the CMS strategic initiatives.

Due to the upcoming June 1, 2020, MA and Part D bid deadlines for the 2021 plan year, CMS is finalizing a subset of the proposed policies before the MA and Part D plans’ bids are due. CMS plans to address the remaining proposals for plans later in 2020 for the 2022 plan year. We understand that the entire healthcare sector is focused on caring for patients and providing coverage related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and we believe this approach provides plans with adequate time and information to design the best coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.

“CMS’s rapid changes to telehealth are a godsend to patients and providers and allows people to be treated in the safety of their home,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The changes we are making will help make telehealth more widely available in Medicare Advantage and are part of larger efforts to advance telehealth.”

 

 CMS Issues Nursing Homes Best Practices Toolkit to Combat COVID-19

 

  • Today, under the direction of President Trump, CMS released a new (PDF) toolkit developed to aid nursing homes, Governors, states, departments of health, and other agencies who provide oversight and assistance to these facilities, with additional resources to aid in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic within nursing homes. The toolkit builds upon previous actions taken by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which provide a wide range of tools and guidance to states, healthcare providers and others during the public health emergency. The toolkit is comprised of best practices from a variety of front line health care providers, Governors’ COVID-19 task forces, associations and other organizations, and experts, and is intended to serve as a catalogue of resources dedicated to addressing the specific challenges facing nursing homes as they combat COVID-19.

CMS NEWS ALERT - May 6, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) building on the agency’s efforts to give the American healthcare system maximum flexibility to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Below is a summary of resources and information available on the rule. View the full rule here.

For more information on the White House Task Force response to COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov. Additional information specific to CMS is available at the CMS News Room and Current Emergencies Website.

Press Release: Trump Administration Issues Second Round of Sweeping Changes to Support U.S. Healthcare System During COVID-19 Pandemic

The IFC outlines actions CMS is taking to ensure states and localities have the flexibilities they need to ramp up diagnostic testing and access to medical care, key precursors to ensuring a phased, safe, and gradual reopening of America. Read the press release and fact sheet for more details.

Fact Sheets

CMS has updated multiple fact sheets that summarize changes made through regulatory actions in response to COVID-19. View more resources available on CMS waivers and flexibilities here.

A full list of emergency declaration blanket waivers for health care providers implemented to date is available here. Additional fact sheets include:

Laboratory and Testing and Resources

CMS is committed to taking critical steps to ensure America’s clinical laboratories can respond to the threat of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses to ensure patient health and safety.

CMS Hospitals without Walls Initiative

CMS is allowing healthcare systems and hospitals to provide services in locations beyond their existing walls to help address the urgent need to expand care capacity and to develop sites dedicated to COVID-19 treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Several changes in the IFC allow additional Medicare payment; CMS has issued FAQs addressing Medicare Fee-for-Service Billing issues.

Additional Resources for Stakeholders

CMS has developed a toolkit for stakeholder partners to help you stay informed on CMS and HHS materials available on COVID-19. Check back often for the most up-to-date information; please refresh your browser often to see the most up-to-date information.

Upcoming COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

Conference lines are limited, so we highly encourage you to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser. You are welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues and membership.

To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for the COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit the Podcast and Transcripts page.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Call - Thursday, May 7th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=2ccba159-709ea889-2ccb9066- 0cc47a6a52de-80625c0cb20a4e86&u=https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=1a9e6b45-46cb6295-1a9e5a7a-0cc47a6a52de-5b1b993b40c7e8b0&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2097

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1181167

Lessons from the Front Lines - Friday, May 8th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Web Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=0ffb90f8-53ae99eb-0ffba1c7-0cc47adb5650- 044bb37a61085446&u=https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=93cd454b-cf984c9b-93cd7474-0cc47a6a52de-05fb34f3eed54d63&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2039

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 877-251-0301; Access Code: 9146779

April 30, 2020 CMS made sweeping changes to expand Medicare telehealth coverage and services on 4/30/2020.  This PDF contains the full lists of pre-COVID eligible services, as well as the newly added codes. 

Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)-UPDATED (3/30/20)

Here’s the link to the post on the CMS.gov site.  Also see the UMTRC News Article regarding these Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy changes.

April 27, 2020 CMS State Medicaid Telehealth Toolkit - State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth COVID-19 Version  

April 9, 2020 CMS: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing

April 7, 2020 CMS: COVID-19: Telehealth Video, Coinsurance and Deductible Waived, ASC Attestations, Ambulance Modifiers, Lessons From Front Lines 

April 3, 2020 (CMS) Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services -This video will provide you with answers to common questions about the Medicare telehealth services benefit.

For additional background information on the waivers and rule changes, go to: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/additional-backgroundsweeping-regulatory-changes-help-us-healthcare-system-address-covid-19-patient

For more information on the COVID-19 waivers and guidance, and the Interim Final Rule, please go to the CMS COVID-19 flexibilities webpage: https://www.cms.gov/about-cms/emergency-preparedness-response-operations/current-emergencies/coronavirus-waivers

CMS- COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers March 30, 2020

CMS- Long-Term Care Nursing Homes Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kits March 27, 2020

CMS COVID-19 Provider Enrollment Relief FAQs March 22, 2020

CMS End-Stage Renal Disease Providers Toolkit March 20, 2020

MEDICARE FEE FOR SERVICE TELEHEALTH COVERAGE March 19, 2020

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Agencies. Last Updated March 18, 2020

CMS Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet March 17, 2020

CMS Telehealth Toolkit for General Practitioners March 17, 2020    

CMS COVID-19 Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief FAQs March 2020 

March 23, 2020 CMS Approves Medicaid Section 1135 Waivers for 11 Additional States in Response to COVID-19

Today, in keeping with its commitment to ensure states have the necessary tools to respond to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved an additional 11 state Medicaid waiver requests under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (Act), bringing the total number of approved Section 1135 waivers for states to 13. The waivers were approved within days of states’ submitting them, and offer states new flexibilities to focus their resources on combatting the outbreak and providing the best possible care to Medicaid beneficiaries in their states. These waivers support President Trump’s commitment to operating a COVID-19 response that is locally executed, state managed and federally supported.  A copy of the press release can be found here:  https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-approves-medicaid-section-1135-waivers-11-additional-states-response-covid-19

For a complete and updated list of CMS actions, and other information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website. 

Relief for Clinicians, Providers, Hospitals and Facilities Participating in Quality Reporting Programs in Response to COVID-19

On March 22, CMS announced it is granting exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for clinicians and providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs with respect to upcoming measure reporting and data submission for those programs. The action comes as part of the Trump Administration’s response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).  CMS is implementing additional extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy exceptions and extensions for upcoming measure reporting and data submission deadlines for several CMS programs. For those programs with data submission deadlines in April and May 2020, submission of those data will be optional, based on the facility’s choice to report.  CMS recognizes that quality measure data collection and reporting for services furnished during this time period may not be reflective of their true level of performance on measures such as cost, readmissions, and patient experience during this time of emergency and seeks to hold organizations harmless for not submitting data during this period.  You can find a copy of the press release here: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-relief-clinicians-providers-hospitals-and-facilities-participating-quality-reporting                    

CMS continues to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation and assess options to bring relief to clinicians: To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here www.coronavirus.gov

For complete and updated information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

To contact Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) go to our contact us page.