On April 30, 2020, CMS issued a second round of sweeping changes to support the healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic. One of these changes is the waiving of limitations on the types of clinical practitioners that can furnish Medicare telehealth services. Prior to this change, only doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certain others could deliver telehealth services. With this change, other practitioners are able to provide telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists.
Until this change, therapists could only provide e-visits, a separate category of remote delivery of services. Even so, however, these services were only payable if billed on a CMS 1500 claim form. Hospital outpatient therapy services billed on the UB-04 claim form was excluded from being reimbursed for e-visits.
This is a great opportunity for hospital-based outpatient therapy, however, it can also set the stage for great risk. As you move to this new platform, make sure your team understands the operational implications (e.g. patient consent, acknowledgment of privacy notice) and regulatory compliance for billing, coding, and documentation. Blue & Co. can provide guidance in this area. For more information, contact our telehealth team.