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CMS Recognizes PT's as Eligible Telehealth Providers

Posted: May 4, 2020 by Christa Lombardo

I’m very pleased to report that CMS now recognizes physical therapists as eligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services for the duration of the public health emergency. This change is retroactive to March 1. This policy change comes after a robust advocacy effort from APTA staff and members. 

CMS states in its list of waivers for health care providers, “Pursuant to authority granted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that broadens the waiver authority under section 1135 of the Social Security Act, the Secretary has authorized additional telehealth waivers. CMS is waiving the requirements of section 1834(m)(4)(E) of the Act and 42 CFR § 410.78 (b)(2) which specify the types of practitioners that may bill for their services when furnished as Medicare telehealth services from the distant site. The waiver of these requirements expands the types of health care professionals that can furnish distant site telehealth services to include all those that are eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services. This allows health care professionals who were previously ineligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and others, to receive payment for Medicare telehealth services.”

Also in positive news, to increase the availability of needed health care services during the COVID-19 PHE, in response to suggestions by stakeholders, including APTA, CMS will allow PTAs and OTAs to perform maintenance therapy services under Medicare Part B for the duration of the public health emergency. CMS states it will permit the PT or OT who established the maintenance program to delegate the performance of maintenance therapy services to a PTA or OTA when clinically appropriate.

For additional information:

https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-19-physicians-and-practitioners.pdf

https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-medicare-and-medicaid-ifc2.pdf

Here's to one more Better Together example of APTA staff and members!

Katy Neas
Executive Vice President, Public Affairs

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