- Medicare payments to sites offering telehealth will increase by 0.8% in 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed in its 2015 Medicare physician fee schedule, released over the weekend.
- In the new rules document, CMS has included new CPT (current procedural terminology) codes, including 99490, which pays for remote chronic care management with a monthly unadjusted non-facility fee of $42.60, and 99091, which provides for reimbursement for remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions through a monthly unadjusted non-facility fee of $56.92.
- In addition, the rules list seven new procedure codes for telehealth services, including annual wellness visits, psychotherapy services and prolonged office services.
According to a press release from the American Telehealth Association—which has been lobbying CMS for these changes for over five years—in the past, Medicare hasn't paid separately for these services. Providers had to bill for them under the "evaluation and management" code.
"It has been a long time coming, but this rulemaking signals a clear and bold step in the right direction for Medicare," said ATA CEO Jonathan Linkous. "This allows providers to use telemedicine technology to improve the cost and quality of healthcare delivery."
What did not happen in the new rules document: The agency did not nullify the provision that currently requires patients to be in a rural location in order for telemedicine services to be billed to Medicare.