CMS expands list of telehealth services that can get Medicare reimbursement

Woman having telehealth visit on her laptop
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services just allowed providers to get Medicare reimbursement for 11 more services for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. (Getty/Drazen Zigic)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has added 11 new telehealth services that Medicare will reimburse, including cardiac rehabilitation services.

The additions, announced Wednesday, are part of the latest push by the agency to accelerate use of telehealth by removing reimbursement barriers. The agency is also giving support to state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies to expand access to telehealth.

“Medicaid patients should not be forgotten, and today’s announcement promotes telehealth for them as well,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement.

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The expansion means that the 11 telehealth services will be reimbursed for the duration of the public health emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency declaration was renewed for another 90 days earlier this month.

Verma has hinted that some of the flexibilities to get Medicare telehealth reimbursement could remain after the pandemic.

The newly added services include certain neurostimulator analysis and programming services and cardiac and pulmonary rehab services. The additions mean Medicare will pay for a total of 144 telehealth services.

“Between mid-March and mid-August 2020 over 12.1 million Medicare beneficiaries—over 36%—of people with Medicare Fee-For-Service have received a telemedicine service,” CMS said in a release.

CMS also released a new toolkit (PDF) to give states more guidance on how to expand use of telehealth in Medicaid and CHIP. The toolkit gives examples to help states identify services that could be accessed via telehealth and how telehealth can be reimbursed after the public health emergency expires.

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