AACU News & Notes
COVID-19 Healthcare and Payment Policy Resources
posted: March 24, 2020
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the AACU remains committed to supporting our member physicians through advocacy and information exchange. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for all that you do to support the health of your communities.
Amid the rising health care and economic concerns stemming from the pandemic, governments have been taking swift action to mitigate the impact COVID-19 will have on American's physical and economic health. While uncertainties remain, emergent policies guide the public, businesses, and health care providers during this unprecedented time. With all of these sudden changes, the AACU has compiled resources for its membership. We encourage you to explore these resources and stay healthy, informed, and connected.
CMS announces relief for providers participating in quality reporting programs (Bricker & Eckler LLP)
On March 22, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is granting exceptions from certain reporting requirements and extensions for providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs. In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, CMS recognized that “quality measure data collection and reporting for services furnished during this time period may not be reflective of their true level of performance” and made changes impacting the following programs.
CMS extended the 2019 data submission deadline from March 31, 2020, to April 30, 2020, for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). MIPS eligible clinicians who have not submitted any MIPS data by April 30, 2020, will qualify for the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy and will receive a neutral payment adjustment for the 2021 MIPS payment year. CMS indicated that it is evaluating options for providing relief around participation and data submission for 2020 as well.
Regulations on Telehealth have literally lessened overnight, and the medical community is now faced with implementing the use of telemedicine in their practices without delay, and many of them for the first time. Government expansion on telehealth began with President Trump’s emergency declaration on March 13, 2020 which expanded coverage for telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries.
The telehealth expansion allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to expand Medicare’s telehealth benefits under the 1135 wavier authority and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides for $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to COVID-19.
This means limitations on where Medicare patients are eligible for telehealth services has been removed during the emergency. The waiver temporarily eliminates the requirement that the originating site must be a physician’s office or other authorized healthcare facility and allows Medicare to pay for telehealth services when beneficiaries are in their homes or any setting of care. More information on the telehealth expansion for Medicare can be found here.
Additionally, CPT and HCPCS codes have been established for reporting evaluation and management services provided by phone. These codes are reported based on time, so providers must document the time spent rendering the service.
WEBINAR: Telemedicine, Virtual Visits and Digital E/M Services — An Update
Acevedo Consulting will be holding a webinar detailing the specifics of the waiver and how it impacts physicians on March 25th. Details concerning the webinar can be found directly below.
Date: Mar 25, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET
For 2020, CPT® and CMS have expanded on the non-face to face services physicians and non-physician practitioners can provide. The recently passed "Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020" waived certain Medicare requirements for the provision of telemedicine. Join Acevedo Consulting as we learn what is available as we untangle this web of opportunities. Topics covered include but are not limited to:
- Additional non-face-to-face revenue opportunities
- Preparing yourself for the new technological and documentation requirements