CMS releases COVID-19 telehealth toolkit for state Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance programs

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The Trump administration on April 23 released a toolkit that offers resources and guidance to help states expand telehealth coverage policies for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, CMS expanded telehealth coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, allowing 85 additional services to be covered when delivered via telehealth during the public health emergency. With the new toolkit, CMS aims to help states identify policies that may interfere with rapid deployment of telehealth services.

The toolkit provides the following issues for states to consider when expanding telehealth capabilities and coverage policies:

1. Populations eligible for telehealth. Federal regulations allow Medicaid services to be provided via telehealth across all populations; the toolkit will help states pinpoint telehealth eligibility restrictions, such as only allowing coverage for beneficiaries living in rural areas.

2. Coverage and reimbursement. States should examine teleheath use for services that have not traditionally been covered when delivered via telehealth. Some states may have only allowed behavioral health services delivered via telehealth, and not all states have provided equal reimbursement for face-to-face visits. 

3. Providers eligible to deliver telehealth. States will be able to evaluate whether regulations are limiting the ability for certain clinicians to deliver care through telehealth.

4. Technology. States must define regulations for what telehealth technology is covered, such as two-way audio/visual communication, audio only or remote patient monitoring.

5. Pediatric patients. States must consider consent and privacy laws when developing telehealth coverage policies for children for the Medicaid and CHIP pediatric populations.

Click here to access the full toolkit.

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