The President and Congress extended Medicare telehealth coverage in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which also included additional Ukrainian relief.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (“2022 CAA”). This new law includes several provisions that extend the Medicare telehealth waivers and flexibilities, implemented as a result of COVID-19 to facilitate access to care, for an additional 151 days after the end of the Public Health Emergency (“PHE”).
The 2022 CAA extension includes the basic PHE telehealth measures originally authorized in the Medicare pandemic response.
- Geographic Restrictions and Originating Sites: Medicare beneficiaries can continue to receive telehealth services from anywhere in the country, including their home. Medicare is permitting telehealth services to be provided to patients at any site within the United States, not just qualifying zip codes or locations (e.g. physician offices/facilities).
- Eligible Practitioners: In addition to “physicians” as defined by Medicare, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and qualified audiologists may continue to furnish and be paid for telehealth services as eligible distant site practitioners.
- Mental Health: In-person requirements for certain mental health services will continue to be waived through the 151-day extension period.
- Audio-Only Telehealth Services: Medicare will continue to provide coverage and payment for most telehealth services furnished using audio-only technology. This includes professional consultations, office visits, and office psychiatry services (identified as of July 1, 20222 by HCPCS Codes 99241-99275, 99201-99215, 90804-90809 and 90862) and any other services added to the telehealth list by the CMS Secretary for which CMS has not expressly required the use of real-time, interactive audio-visual equipment during the PHE.