CMS Issues New COVID Waivers and Expands Coverage

Last week, CMS published guidelines for expanded coverage and payment for services rendered during the public health emergency.  Some of the notable updates include:

  • Physical therapists (PT) and Occupational therapists (OT) may now bill for telehealth therapy services.
  • A written order is no longer required for COVID-19 testing.
  • COVID-19 testing may be ordered by any healthcare professional, not just the treating physician, acting within the state law.  
  • Pharmacists may perform COVID-19 testing if they enrolled in Medicare as a laboratory and are acting within state law.
  • A significant number of services have been added to the approved telehealth benefit category.
  • Significant payment increase for telephone services.

The press release details numerous other changes related to staffing, documentation and service locations which should be reviewed carefully.  You can access the release at:

We recommend referring to the CMS and other regulatory sites frequently as changes and updates are occurring rapidly.  CMS has a dedicated page on their website for all emergency updates here:

The list of covered telehealth services is located at:

HBE is available to assist with training of your providers and staff, policy revisions, auditing and other compliance and revenue cycle needs you may have.  We will continue to monitor these important developments.

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