CMS Expands Payments for Audio-Only Visits
May 1, 2020
Following pressure from the medical community, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has agreed to allow greater payments for evaluation and management services that are provided only via telephone.
Responding to efforts by organized medicine, including HRS, CMS announced that it will be increasing payments for audio-only telephone visits between Medicare beneficiaries and their physician to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits. This would increase payments for these services from a range of about $14.00-$41.00 to about $46.00-$110.00, and the payments are retroactive to March 1, 2020.
HRS advocated for this change via letters to CMS and comments during weekly COVID-19 calls with CMS leadership. This change will allow physicians to be paid at a rate equal to Evaluation and Management visits, which CMS deemed eligible for payment if provided via audio-video. That decision left physicians at a disadvantage if their patients either did not have audio-video capabilities or if the patient did not want to utilize a video component.
CMS issued a press release announcing expanded care to support our nation’s seniors and provide flexibility to the U.S. healthcare system.