CMS Listens to APTA, Reverses Course, OKs Hospital Use of Telehealth Post-PHE


Though many questions still remain, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has offered one answer on the use of telehealth in facility settings now that the public health emergency has ended: For hospital-based facilities, it's a go. The announcement is a major reversal from CMS' earlier position against use of telehealth in that setting.

The clarification, provided late Friday afternoon, can be found in a CMS FAQ document available online (see question 21). Essentially, the agency responded to advocacy by APTA and other organizations and now says that hospitals can bill Medicare for services provided via telehealth until the end of 2023. Previously, CMS had suggested any setting that used a UBO4 claim form — the form used by most hospitals — was excluded from billing for telehealth after the end of the public health emergency.

While a welcome development, the reversal only addresses a portion of the settings in which the fate of telehealth remains unresolved: CMS has yet to address similar questions about skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and rehab agencies. APTA met with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week to press for resolution, who indicated that not all guidance may be produced quickly.

APTA continues to monitor the issue and will provide updates as available. The association's call for a resolution to the problem has been reinforced through a statement signed by coalition of organizations.