In the midst of what has become the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been receiving lots of calls, texts and emails about practicing, coding and documenting for what was formerly referred to as “Telemedicine.” Luckily, I was able to connect with my long time friend and colleague Dr. Jeffrey Lehrman (who just so happens to be a billing and coding expert) and he was gracious enough to create this document especially for my practices.
I will keep sending information as I see necessary and hope that you and your families stay safe and healthy during this difficult situation.
After sending this initial email yesterday, I received several helpful messages with additional information.
See also the release from CMS on 3/17/2020: https://edit.cms.gov/files/document/medicare-telehealth-frequently-asked-questions-faqs-31720.pdf
From Michael King, DPM:
Q: How does a qualified provider bill for telehealth services?
A: Medicare telehealth services are generally billed as if the service had been furnished in-person. For Medicare telehealth services, the claim should reflect the designated Place of Service (POS) code 02-Telehealth, to indicate the billed service was furnished as a professional telehealth service from a distant site.
Q: How much does Medicare pay for telehealth services?
A: Medicare pays the same amount for telehealth services as it would if the service were furnished in person. For services that have different rates in the office versus the facility (the site of service payment differential), Medicare uses the facility payment rate when services are furnished via telehealth.
Q: Can qualified providers let their patients know that Medicare covers telehealth?
A: Yes. Qualified providers should inform their patients that services are available via telehealth.
Q: How is this different from virtual check-ins and e-visits?
A: A virtual check-in pays professionals for brief (5-10 min) communications that mitigate the need for an in-person visit, whereas a visit furnished via Medicare telehealth is treated the same as an in-person visit, and can be billed using the code for that service, using place of service 02 to indicate the service was performed via telehealth. An e-visit is when a beneficiary communicates with their doctors through online patient portals.