The info-blast article, Keeping Up With COVID-19: Waiver Impact for SNF Medicare Part A and Part B , was released last week to help SNF therapy professionals navigate through the temporary changes in the regulations related to the National Emergency. Since that time, a few additional regulations have been released impacting therapy professionals providing Medicare Part B services. The multiple updates and timing of each has caused some confusion around what virtual services are available for therapy professionals and in which practice settings. We hope this information will set things straight…at least until things change again!
Additional Medicare Part B Changes – Virtual Services
On 3/31/20, CMS released the Interim Final Rule, “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The Rule confirmed the information in the above article and added additional provisions:
- ADDED the authorization for private practice therapists to utilize Virtual Check-In’s .
- ADDED the temporary authorization for private practice therapists to use Telephone Evaluation and Management Service codes. These are services performed by practitioners who cannot separately bill for E/M’s. (ie: therapists) [Rule page 122]
- ADDED 97000 series CPT codes commonly used by therapists….HOWEVER, the Rule continues to confirm that therapists are not “approved providers” or ” approved distant site practitioners” and therefore, cannot bill telehealth services at this time.
To access the Rule CLICK HERE .
For the visual learners out there….this about sums it up…at least for now!
CMS has also held multiple Coronavirus COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls…so many that you can now track them and listen to the the recordings and/or read the transcripts by going HERE.
To prevent information overload, we have extracted the information pertinent for SNF therapy professionals (for Medicare Part A, Part B, Infection Control and other regulations) and created a COVID-19 Resource Page.
Potential For Additional Changes
Again, the regulatory environment is currently very fluid and we can expect additional changes. APTA, AOTA and ASHA are heavily advocating for change in the telehealth regulation to recognize therapists as approved providers, and to expand the virtual service setting beyond private practice into settings including the SNF, so that therapists can begin providing reimbursable Part B services to seniors, both during the current pandemic and into the future.
It goes without saying, therapy professionals need to be aware of their State Practice Act for restrictions about providing Virtual Services, as this information would trump Medicare in terms of provision.
If you have any questions about any of the above information or need additional information, use our Just Ask Q&A Forum and one of our team members will respond to you directly to assist.
For all you continue to do to serve the greatest generation, thank you.
In Your Corner,
Dolores Montero, PT, DPT, RAC-CT, RAC-CTA
The Montero Therapy Team
SNF Rehab and MDS Compliance Experts