What Does the Future Hold for Telehealth?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the 2021 physician fee schedule with proposed changes, including changes affecting the future of telehealth.

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The proposed rules, along with an executive order signed by President Trump, will impact the future of telehealth.

President Trump’s order extends Medicare’s broad telehealth coverage after the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMS also opted to extend some telehealth services, on a service by service basis.

Some critics have argued that the extensions don’t go far enough, however, the rules are open for comment until October 5, 2020 and are not yet finalized.

Also, CMS is excluding audio-only telehealth visits from future coverage and has asked for public input.

CMS is hesitant to extend to audio-only because of the potential for fraud. This is especially true for new patients. CMS is concerned about robocalls and the vulnerability of patients and patient data.

Telehealth was used in a much greater capacity during the current pandemic and many organizations transitioned swiftly to provide telehealth and audio-only appointments to their patients.

Time will tell if private insurance companies follow suit and continue to cover telehealth services following the end of the pandemic.

Does your practice use telehealth? What about audio-only visits? Let us know about your experiences with telehealth!

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