News Feature | November 6, 2014

CMS Increases Telemedicine Reimbursement

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

CMS Increases Telemedicine Reimbursement

CMS issued a final rule updating physician fee schedules and boosting payments for telehealth services.

CMS included in its recent final rule updating physician fee schedules several provisions to increase reimbursement for telemedicine services.

“This Halloween, Medicare beneficiaries got an important treat for home care of chronic care management, remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions, and other services when provided via telehealth,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association in a press release.

The association has been asking CMS for such coverage for over five years, according to the release. “Buried in an almost 1200-page rulemaking about 2015 Medicare payments to physicians and practitioners were provisions paying for remote chronic care management using a new current procedural terminology (CPT) code, 99490, with a monthly unadjusted, non-facility fee of $42.60,” explains the ATA. “Also, Medicare will pay for remote-patient monitoring of chronic conditions with a monthly unadjusted, non-facility fee of $56.92 using CPT code 99091.”

Before this new rule was implemented, Medicare required that such billing be bundled with an “evaluation and management” code and did not pay separately for such services.

According to mHealth News, Medicare payments to telehealth originating sites will increase by 0.8 percent in 2015.

“It has been a long time coming, but this rulemaking signals a clear and bold step in the right direction for Medicare,” added Linkous. “This allows providers to use telemedicine technology to improve the cost and quality of healthcare delivery.”