Recent Blog Posts
- The Federal Communications Commission Announces Narrow Window to Apply for Second Round of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Funding – Applications Due May 6, 2021 On April 29, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin accepting applications for the second round of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program (the “Program”). However, the application filing window will only be open for a very short seven day period and will close on May 6, 2021. To give all applicants an equal opportunity to have their applications reviewed, the FCC announced that all applications filed during this period will be reviewed once the application filing window has closed.
Initially, in... More
- COVID-19 – New York Expands Telehealth Utilization We hope that everyone is staying safe during the COVID-19 crisis. State health departments are, of course, doing what they can to facilitate management of transmission of COVID-19 by healthcare providers. Some recent actions by the New York Department of Health (“DOH”) to allow or promote telephonic and telehealth services include:
Telephonic Evaluation – Beginning with dates of service of March 13, Medicaid will reimburse telephonic evaluation and management services for established patients where face-to-face visits may not be recommended and... More
- Congress’s COVID-19 Funding Legislation Expands Access to Telehealth Services for Medicare Beneficiaries While the world continues to respond to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Congress recently passed legislation that provides for more than $8 billion in emergency funding to combat COVID-19. Part of this supplemental funding package, signed into law on March 6, 2020, includes the Telehealth Services During Certain Emergency Periods Act of 2020 (the “Act”), which authorizes the Administration to loosen restrictions on telehealth in order to expand access to COVID-19 related telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries—many of... More
- Telemental Health Laws Update: 2019 Survey and App Released Our colleagues Amy F. Lerman, Francesca R. Ozinal, and team have released the 2019 update to Epstein Becker Green’s Telemental Health Laws survey.
Available as a complimentary app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, the survey covers state telehealth laws, regulations, and policies within mental health.
For more about the survey findings, visit “Epstein Becker Green Finds Telehealth Services Are Increasingly Accessible to Mental Health Professionals Despite Legislative Barriers.”
Also see the “Telemental Health Laws: Overview” for more about the milestones achieved in 2019, current barriers, and... More
- CMS Final Rule Offers the Promise of Additional Telehealth Services for MA Plan Enrollees The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has published a final rule that will expand access to telehealth services for Medicare Advantage (“MA”) plan enrollees. CMS Administrator Seema Verma characterized the agency’s latest policymaking efforts as “a historic step in bringing innovative technology to Medicare beneficiaries” and a way for the agency to provide “greater flexibility to Medicare Advantage plans, [so] beneficiaries can receive more benefits, at lower costs and better quality.”
Traditionally, MA plans have been limited to providing,... More
- CHRONIC Care Act, Title III of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Signals Meaningful Change for Medicare Advantage Plans and Telehealth Coverage On February 9, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (“BBA”). Among the most notable changes that will occur with the enactment of the BBA is the inclusion of certain provisions taken from the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (“CHRONIC”) Care Act of 2017 bill (S.870) which the Senate passed in September 2017. Among other things, the CHRONIC Care provisions will have the effect of redefining new criteria for special-needs plans... More
- OIG Updates FY 2017 Work Plan to Include Review of Medicare Claims for Telehealth Services Provided to Rural Beneficiaries: Will Substantive Change to Medicare Reimbursement for Telehealth Follow? Updates to OIG FY 2017 Work Plan
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) recently updated its FY 2017 Work Plan. Traditionally, OIG’s annual Work Plan has given health care providers a preview of OIG’s enforcement priorities. With the OIG now making updates to its Work Plan on a monthly basis, providers stand to gain even more insight into how the focus of OIG is constantly shifting in order to assist in... More
- Zika Update – WHO Declares Public Health Emergency On Monday, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) declared the rise in birth defects linked to the Zika virus outbreak a public health emergency, marking only the fourth time that the WHO has made such a declaration. This announcement by the WHO underscores the seriousness of the Zika virus outbreak and, hopefully, will pave way for a coordinated and well-funded global response to this serious public health problem that may include intensified mosquito control efforts, expedited creation of a more rigorous... More
- Telemedicine and Employers: The New Frontier As we have explored a number of times on this blog, telemedicine has gone mainstream. The more recent development is that employers seem to be paying more attention now. The numbers speak for themselves. A recent Towers Watson study focusing on employers with at least 1,000 employees concluded that U.S. employers could save up to $6 billion per year if their employees routinely engaged in remote consults for appropriate medical problems instead of visiting emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and... More
- CMS Hosts MLN Connects National Provider Call to Review New CCM CPT Code Providers, take note: the Chronic Care Management (CCM) CPT Code 99490 is now payable by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Effective January 1, 2015, the Medicare program began making payments under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) for certain non-face-to-face management and care coordination services provided to beneficiaries covered under the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program. CCM services include, but are not limited to, development and maintenance of a plan of care, communication with other treating health care professionals,... More