Public Health Emergency (PHE) Extended: Telehealth Waivers Remain in Place
Date: 10|21|2021 Approx. 2 min. read
Author: Brianna Plencner, CPC, CPMA Senior Consultant & Manager, Practice Development, HCCI
On October 15, 2021, Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), extending the many waivers that are in place until January 16, 2022. As a reminder the PHE must be extended every 90 days, the 1135 telehealth waivers currently in place are what grants healthcare professionals the flexibility to continue providing and billing for telehealth services provided to patients at home.
This is good news for many home-based practices that have continued utilizing telehealth as part of their clinical model. As long as the PHE remains in effect then practices can continue billing for Evaluation and Management (E/M) video visits, telephone E/M services, as well as the other services included on Medicare list of telehealth services without worrying about geographic and originating site restrictions.
It is still uncertain what CMS’s final policy for telehealth services will be when the PHE ends, the CY 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule (MPFS) was suggesting only creating permanent access for Medicare telehealth services for the treatment of mental health conditions. We are waiting for the CY 2022 MPFS final rule but practices should monitor the status of the PHE so they understand how long they can continue to have the flexibility to bill for telehealth services under Medicare fee-for-service.
Refer to HCCI’s Telehealth During COVID-19 resource for a complete understanding of how to compliantly bill for telehealth and virtual services during the PHE.