Below is a message from Congressman Andy Barr about how he secured clarity the use of telehealth services in hospitals from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Coronavirus Federal Response Update From Congressman Andy Barr
April 27, 2020 (Link to press release)
This week, I secured much needed clarity on the use of telehealth services in hospitals from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). My office successfully advocated for same-location telehealth services to help COVID-19 patients, protect healthcare workers and conserve critical personal protective equipment (PPE). This decision provides greater flexibility to expand telehealth services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At my request, CMS provided guidance that, to the extent a medical service can be performed via telehealth when the locations are different, the same technology can also be used within the hospital. More specifically, if the beneficiary and the practitioner furnishing the service are in the same institutional setting, like a hospital, but are utilizing telecommunications technology to keep socially distant while still furnishing the service but also reducing exposure risks, the practitioner need not report this service as telehealth and should instead report the face-to-face code for the in-person service furnished. CMS has clarified this policy is now in place and providers should contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor with any questions.
I was first notified of this issue by Lexington epidemiologist, Dr. Mark Dougherty, one of the many healthcare providers on the front lines battling COVID-19. Upon hearing his interest in using same-site telehealth, my office diligently worked for clarification and promoted to CMS the benefits of expanding these services, particularly for patients with COVID-19.