2024 Telehealth Reimbursement Updates: Expanding Access and Optimizing Care

As the adoption of telehealth, remote monitoring, and connected care technologies continues to increase, it’s important for healthcare leaders to stay on top of the latest updates in telehealth reimbursement

Some of the most significant updates come from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which released its final rule for Medicare payments under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) in 2024. Let's delve into the eight key updates impacting telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) services:

1. Established Patient Requirement: A fundamental change concerns new patients seeking RPM services. Before initiating these services, a new patient evaluation and management (E/M) or similar service is now mandatory. This ensures a clear care plan is established during an in-person visit. However, exceptions exist for patients who utilized RPM during the Public Health Emergency (PHE) as they already have an established patient-provider relationship. Additionally, this established patient rule doesn't apply to remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) reimbursement.

2. 16-Day Data Collection for RPM: The billing guidelines for RPM data collection have been revised. Now, healthcare providers need to collect data for at least 16 of the 30-day episode of care period, excluding calendar month days, for CPT codes 99453 and 99454. This clarifies the data collection requirements for accurate reimbursement of these specific codes.

3. Clarity on RPM/RTM "Time Spent": CMS has provided further clarity regarding time spent billing guidelines for specific CPT codes. Codes 99457, 99458, 98980, and 98981, representing "time spent" for treatment management, are not subject to the 16-day data collection requirement. They maintain their existing billing guideline of a 30-day calendar month.

4. One Provider for RPM/RTM Billing: A significant update concerns the number of providers permitted to bill for RPM and RTM services. According to the new guidelines, only one provider can bill for either RPM device codes (99453 and 99454) or RTM codes (98976, 98977, 98980, and 98981) within a 30-day episode of care. This means the provider who submits the claim first will be reimbursed, whereas subsequent claims from other providers for the same patient during that period will be denied.

5. Concurrent Billing with Other Services: Reimbursement for RPM and RTM cannot be combined with similar services within the same month. However, specific services like Chronic Care Management (CCM), Transition Care Management (TCM), Behavioral Health Integration (BHI), Principal Care Management (PCM), and Chronic Pain Management (CPM) can be billed concurrently with either RPM or RTM.

6. Billing During Global Surgery Periods: The 2024 Physician Fee Schedule clarifies the permissible timeframe for billing RPM/RTM services during a surgical global period, defined as the time during which a physician cannot bill for related office visits. Now, if the billing provider for RPM or RTM services is different from the provider receiving the global payment, these services can be billed. Additionally, if RPM or RTM services were already in place before the surgery, CMS allows payment outside the surgical global period.

7. FQHCs and RHCs Gain Reimbursement: This update presents new opportunities for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). They can now receive reimbursement from CMS for either RPM or RTM services (not both) when billed alongside Care Management CPT code G0511. This code can be billed multiple times per calendar month, offering additional financial support for these healthcare facilities.

8. New Cost Fee Structure: The final update concerns changes to the cost fee structure. While the specific details are outside the scope of this article, it's important to be aware that individual CPT code reimbursement rates for RPM, CCM, and RTM have been slightly adjusted.

These updates highlight the ongoing evolution of telehealth and remote patient monitoring regulations. By staying informed about these changes, healthcare providers and facilities can ensure they are delivering compliant and reimbursable care to patients while optimizing their practice efficiency.

For more information on telehealth reimbursement, register for our upcoming webinar. 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars