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GETTYSBURG, Pa. (May 26, 2020)—Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare only provided telehealth services to a select group of beneficiaries. However, in an effort to maintain the availability of services through the pandemic while limiting the spread of the virus, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has greatly expanded access to telehealth services in the span of a few short weeks, as detailed in our latest report, Medicare COVID-19 Telehealth Rules, Regulations & Rates: An OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence Report. The report summarizes COVID-19 related federal and state policies defining telehealth services; recommended telehealth platforms; and Medicare specific changes—telehealth services, beneficiary relationship requirements with provider organizations, codes, and reimbursement rates.

As of March 1, 2020, Medicare has temporarily expanded where telehealth is delivered; who can engage in and deliver telehealth sessions; and how telehealth sessions are reimbursed (and at what rates). All Medicare beneficiaries can engage in telehealth for any health care concern whether or not it’s related to COVID-19. CMS also added 85 physician procedure codes to the list of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) encounters that can be delivered through telehealth through the duration of the pandemic, raising the total number of Medicare FFS telehealth procedure codes to 191 (representing of 33% of all physician procedure codes).

Despite the temporary expansion, a number of questions still remain on what the telehealth landscape will look like post-crisis. In her analysis, Will The New Medicare Telehealth Landscape Last?, OPEN MINDS Chief Executive Officer Monica E. Oss noted, “The big questions are—will this situation remain when the pandemic crisis is over? Will services delivered by telehealth remain a benefit for all Medicare beneficiaries?” While the answers to those questions are still in flux, Ms. Oss added, “Assuming these changes in Medicare benefits remain, Medicare represents a new market for specialty provider organizations that are expanding their telehealth delivery systems.”

OPEN MINDS will release two additional reports outlining the changes in telehealth regulations and rates for Medicaid and the private health insurance market. Each report will cover telehealth services, beneficiary relationship requirements with provider organizations, codes, and reimbursement rates with a state-by-state breakdown.

For a deeper dive, the report, Medicare COVID-19 Telehealth Rules, Regulations & Rates: An OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence Report, is available at no charge to Premium and Elite members of The OPEN MINDS Circle and can be purchased in the OPEN MINDS shop for $495.

For questions and media inquiries, contact Michelle Coughlin-Malak, Vice President, Market Intelligence, OPEN MINDS at 717-334-1329 or openminds@openminds.com.

ABOUT OPEN MINDS

OPEN MINDS is an award-winning information source, executive education provider, and business solutions firm specializing in the domains of health and human services serving consumers with chronic conditions and complex support needs. For thirty years, we’ve been pioneers for change – helping organizations implement the transformational business practices they need to succeed in an evolving market with new reimbursement, competition, policies, and regulations. OPEN MINDS is powered by a national team of experienced executives and subject matter experts with specific expertise and experience in nine key market areas – mental health, addictions, chronic conditions, autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities, long-term care, children’s services, social services, juvenile justice, and corrections health care. Our mission is to improve the quality of care for consumers with complex support needs by improving the effectiveness of those serving them – provider organizations, payer and insurance organizations, government agencies, pharmaceutical organizations, and technology firms. Learn more at www.openminds.com.

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