Neurosurgery Urges CMS to Extend Telehealth Services Post-COVID-19
On May 27, the AANS and the CNS joined the Alliance of Specialty Medicine in sending a letter to CMS urging the agency to work with Congress and its federal agency partners to ensure ongoing access to expanded telehealth services following the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). The letter recommends that CMS:
- Maintain the updated Medicare telehealth list, to include retaining all of the services added to the Medicare telehealth list in response to the PHE for COVID-19;
- Eliminate site-of-service payment differentials for telehealth visits, and maintain Medicare coverage and enhanced payment for “telephone” Evaluation and Management services (CPT 99441 – 99443);
- Allow key telehealth and virtual care services (e.g., virtual check-ins, e-visits and other communication technology-based services) to be furnished to both new and established patients;
- Preserve direct supervision revisions that allow physicians to supervise in-office clinical staff using communications technologies, when appropriate; and
- Ensure that physicians may perform telehealth services from their homes without updating their Medicare enrollment.
The letter also encourages CMS to work with state Medicaid programs and private payers adopt similar telehealth policies and to reimburse providers for telehealth services in the same manner or at the same rate that they pay for face-to-face services.