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phyzforum

AAPM&R members: Even more resources are being shared between physiatrists in our Care in the Time of COVID-19 member forum on PhyzForum. Exchange important dialogue about your challenges, ask your questions and concerns as well as share resources with each other.

Telehealth

Telehealth offers an innovative and safe way for you to care for patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. AAPM&R has created resources for PM&R physicians and compiled a variety of resources from several organizations to assist you.

alert

ALERTS

  • April 13: AAPM&R sends letter to CMS advocating for CMS to waive the requirement specifying that office and outpatient E/M visits furnished via telehealth must include a video component. If CMS implements this recommendation, it would allow for audio-only (telephone) E/M visits to be reimbursed at the same rate as face-to-face E/M visits. 
  • March 30: New Waivers from CMS: As a result of the new waivers and flexibilities announced by CMS on March 30, several major changes have been made to telemedicine coverage including new coverage for telephone calls and an expansion of the list of services that can be provided via telemedicine. As a result of these major changes, some of the details in resources linked below may not be applicable during the COVID-19 emergency. Your Academy is continuing to revise resources and provide links to updated external documents as they become available.

 

From AAPM&R

  • Guide to Telehealth Under COVID-19 Our online guide offers details on Medicare guidelines including a review of waivers, reimbursable codes, and CMS-recommended modifiers. Private payer policies with respect to telehealth during the public health emergency may vary. Additional content will be added regularly.

  • Telehealth for PM&R: Benefits and Challenges: This free resource is extracted from the TelePM&R: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead session recorded at the 2019 Annual Assembly. This section of the session offer insights into how to apply telemedicine to PM&R patients.
  • Webinar Recordings – we are continuing to host a series of webinars on various topics related to COVID-19, including telemedicine-focused webinars. Recordings from each are available for all to access.
  • AAPM&R advocates for the expansion of telemedicine services to America's Health Insurance Plan (AHIP) and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS). In these letters, we advocate for parity with in-person office visit payments, the ability to use whatever technology platform is available, and consistent coding and modifier instructions. (April 13)

Learn more about AAPM&R advocacy, healthcare collaborations and partnerships, and customized resources to support PM&R during this crisis.

Government Guidance

  • New Waivers from CMS: As a result of the new waivers and flexibilities announced by CMS on March 30, several major changes have been made to telemedicine coverage including new coverage for telephone calls and an expansion of the list of services that can be provided via telemedicine. As a result of these major changes, some of the details in resources linked below may not be applicable during the COVID-19 emergency. Your Academy is continuing to revise resources and provide links to updated external documents as they become available. (March 30)
  • The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 was signed into law. The law provides that Medicare telehealth requirements be waived or modified in an emergency area or during an emergency period, such that sufficient health care items and services are available to meet the needs of individuals. Additionally, it provides that health care providers that provide telehealth services when they might typically be unable to due to restrictions based on pre-approval requirements, state licensing restrictions, etc. may be reimbursed and exempted from sanctions for noncompliance. (March 6)
  • The Coverage and Payment Related to COVID-19 Medicare Fact Sheet created by CMS ensures beneficiaries are aware of their telehealth options under Medicare Fee-For-Service and Medicare Advantage (MA) plans for coverage related to COVID-19. The fact sheet says that MA plans may provide enrollees with access to Medicare Part B services via telehealth in any geographic area and from a variety of places, including their own homes (see page 6). (March 5)

How To and Background Information

Member-to-Member

Please note that these documents are submitted by AAPM&R members and are not formally endorsed by the Academy:

Resources from AAPM&R’s Collaborations

We are collaborating with other medical societies to advocate for and support your needs. It is through these partnerships that we are able to share a variety of resources that you critically need:

  • Insurance companies are responding to COVID-19 by adjusting coverage including changes to prior authorization, copays, telemedicine coverage, and beyond. AHIP is tracking these changes on a payer-by-payer basis on their website. (March 18)

 

If you can't find what you need or would like additional support, we're here to help. Contact us at (847) 737-6000 or email covidresponse@aapmr.org.

*Note: For all content created by Hart Health Strategies, a Washington D.C.-based firm that provides federal regulatory/quality advocacy support services to complement initiatives and efforts of AAPM&R. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of AAPM&R.