Tuesday, April 7, 2020
- New Video Available on Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act Waives Coinsurance and Deductibles for Additional COVID-19 Related Services
- Guidance for Processing Attestations from Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) Temporarily Enrolling as Hospitals during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
- COVID-19: Expanded Use of Ambulance Origin/Destination Modifiers
- Lessons from The Front Lines: COVID-19
- CMS COVID-19 Update Call Today
View this edition as PDF (PDF)
New Video Available on Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services
CMS released a video providing answers to common questions about the Medicare telehealth services benefit. CMS is expanding this benefit on a temporary and emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act Waives Coinsurance and Deductibles for Additional COVID-19 Related Services
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act waives cost-sharing under Medicare Part B (coinsurance and deductible amounts) for Medicare patients for COVID-19 testing-related services. These services are medical visits for the HCPCS evaluation and management categories described below when an outpatient provider, physician, or other providers and suppliers that bill Medicare for Part B services orders or administers COVID-19 lab test U0001, U0002, or 87635.
Cost-sharing does not apply for COVID-19 testing-related services, which are medical visits that: are furnished between March 18, 2020 and the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE); that result in an order for or administration of a COVID-19 test; are related to furnishing or administering such a test or to the evaluation of an individual for purposes of determining the need for such a test; and are in any of the following categories of HCPCS evaluation and management codes:
- Office and other outpatient services
- Hospital observation services
- Emergency department services
- Nursing facility services
- Domiciliary, rest home, or custodial care services
- Home services
- Online digital evaluation and management services
Cost-sharing does not apply to the above medical visit services for which payment is made to:
- Hospital Outpatient Departments paid under the Outpatient Prospective Payment System
- Physicians and other professionals under the Physician Fee Schedule
- Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
- Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
For services furnished on March 18, 2020, and through the end of the PHE, outpatient providers, physicians, and other providers and suppliers that bill Medicare for Part B services under these payment systems should use the CS modifier on applicable claim lines to identify the service as subject to the cost-sharing wavier for COVID-19 testing-related services and should NOT charge Medicare patients any co-insurance and/or deductible amounts for those services.
For professional claims, physicians and practitioners who did not initially submit claims with the CS modifier must notify their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) and request to resubmit applicable claims with dates of service on or after 3/18/2020 with the CS modifier to get 100% payment.
For institutional claims, providers, including hospitals, CAHs, RHCs, and FQHCs, who did not initially submit claims with the CS modifier must resubmit applicable claims submitted on or after 3/18/2020, with the CS modifier to visit lines to get 100% payment.
Additional CMS actions in response to COVID-19, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov. For a complete and updated list of CMS actions, and other information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.
Guidance for Processing Attestations from Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) Temporarily Enrolling as Hospitals during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
CMS is providing needed flexibility to hospitals to ensure they have the ability to expand capacity and to treat patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency. As part of the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers (PDF) CMS is allowing Medicare-enrolled ASCs to temporarily enroll as hospitals and to provide hospital services to help address the urgent need to increase hospital capacity to take care of patients.
COVID-19: Expanded Use of Ambulance Origin/Destination Modifiers
During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will cover a medically necessary emergency and non-emergency ground ambulance transportation from any point of origin to a destination that is equipped to treat the condition of the patient consistent with state and local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) protocols where the services will be furnished. On an interim basis, we are expanding the list of destinations that may include but are not limited to:
- Any location that is an alternative site determined to be part of a hospital, Critical Access Hospital (CAH), or Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
- Community mental health centers
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
- Rural health clinics (RHCs)
- Physicians’ offices
- Urgent care facilities
- Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)
- Any location furnishing dialysis services outside of an End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facility when an ESRD facility is not available
- Beneficiary’s home
CMS expanded the descriptions for these origin and destination claim modifiers to account for the new covered locations:
- Modifier D - Community mental health center, FQHC, RHC, urgent care facility, non-provider-based ASC or freestanding emergency center, location furnishing dialysis services and not affiliated with ESRD facility
- Modifier E – Residential, domiciliary, custodial facility (other than 1819 facility) if the facility is the beneficiary’s home
- Modifier H - Alternative care site for hospital, including CAH, provider-based ASC, or freestanding emergency center
- Modifier N - Alternative care site for SNF
- Modifier P - Physician’s office
- Modifier R - Beneficiary’s home
For the complete list of ambulance origin and destination claim modifiers see Medicare Claims Processing Manual Chapter 15 (PDF), Section 30 A.
Lessons from The Front Lines: COVID-19
On April 3, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, Deborah Birx, MD, White House Coronavirus Task Force, and officials from the FDA, CDC, and FEMA participated in a call on COVID-19 Flexibilities. Several physician guests on the front lines presented best practices from their COVID-19 experiences. You can listen to the conversation here.
CMS COVID-19 Update Call Today
Tuesday, April 7 from 2 to 3 pm ET
Register for Medicare Learning Network events.
CMS update on recent actions taken to address the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Target Audience: All Medicare fee-for-service providers and interested stakeholders.
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