As promised, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has expanded its Medicare telehealth coverage during this coronavirus crisis. This expansion enables more patients to get virtual care services from their doctors without having to travel.
President Trump: Telehealth Great Program
With this expansion, Medicare will temporarily pay clinicians for telehealth services to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists and licensed clinical social workers can now offer telehealth to Medicare beneficiaries in any healthcare facility. This will also include a physician’s office, hospital, nursing home or rural health clinic. Most convenient of all, patients will be able to access telehealth appointments from their homes. This is a great benefit to senior citizens and the physically disabled.
Moreover, not having to travel to clinics and hospitals, ensures that seniors don’t expose themselves to people carrying the coronavirus.
President Trump has mandated the fee schedule so that health providers can bill as of March 6, 2020. Medicare coinsurance and deductibles will still apply.
Telehealth Benefits Increased
The Trump Administration announced an emergency declaration on March under the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act. This broadened the CMS’ support for telehealth benefits under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Before this emergency declaration, Medicare could only pay clinicians for telehealth services for patients in remote locations. Home-based virtual consultations were not covered.
This swift action gives patients greater access to care through telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak. And, it also helps seniors to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.
This limits their risk of exposure to the virus and gives doctors greater flexibility to safely treat all beneficiaries. Furthermore, the faster response time and diagnosis helps the patient to avoid potential serious health issues from developing.