The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has confirmed a rule adding seven new telemedicine billing codes to the 2015 Medicare physician fee schedule. The new codes include those for prolonged office visits, psychotherapy, and annual wellness visits. The CMS has also added a new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) service code, 99490 for chronic care patient management in the final rule. This code is not a telehealth code and it can be bundled with the existing CPT code 99091 for collecting and reviewing patient data that does not require the beneficiary to be present; though, the CMS will still not allow any additional payments for this service.
The final rule has given telehealth providers a glimpse of its plans to expand reimbursement for telehealth services provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Since 2003, the Congress has passed bills to postpone cuts that are slated to kick in on April 1. The supposed “doc-fix” will now cost the country more than $120 billion to fund Medicare to eliminate the annual automatic cuts.
The American Telemedicine Association CEO Jonathan Linkous has stated “It has been a long time coming, but this rulemaking signals a clear and bold step in the right direction for Medicare.”
Resources: American Telemedicine Association