CMS proposes extending certain Medicare telehealth provisions through 2023: 5 details

The Biden administration has proposed expanding telehealth reimbursement for behavioral healthcare services as part of its proposed 2022 Physician Fee Schedule, which CMS unveiled July 13. 

The proposed rule includes payment rates for Medicare next year as well as several other policy proposals that could affect physicians. 

Here are five things to know about the proposed rule's telehealth components: 

1. CMS wants to pay providers for giving certain mental and behavioral healthcare services to patients via audio-only telehealth calls. However, payment would only be met under certain services including counseling and therapy for opioid treatment. 

2. The Physician Fee Schedule eliminated geographic restrictions that could be a barrier to telehealth services for mental health. Under the rule, patients also would be able to access telehealth in their own homes. 

3. If finalized, the rule would cover telehealth used for diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of mental health disorders and also would pay physicians for mental health visits delivered via telehealth to rural and vulnerable patient populations. 

4. CMS also proposed allowing certain services that have been added to the Medicare telehealth list to remain covered through the end of Dec. 31, 2023, so that "there is a glide path to evaluate whether the services should be permanently added to the telehealth list following the COVID-19 [public health emergency]." 

5. Stakeholders can comment on the proposed rule through Sept. 13. Click here to view the full version of the rule. 


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