CMS-Supported Telehealth Will Continue To Be A Driving Force – But Watch for Greater OIG Enforcement

The National Law Review

March 3, 2022

As mindsets pivoted to a post-pandemic life, telehealth advocates petitioned CMS to embrace telehealth as a permanent care option, and CMS responded with regulatory action at the end of 2021.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, telehealth usage surged as patients and providers turned to it as a safer care alternative. McKinsey estimated telehealth claim volumes reached 80 times pre-pandemic levels at its peak, ultimately stabilizing at 38 times pre-pandemic levels by early 2021.1 This increase was mostly driven by CMS’ waivers and relaxation of regulatory constraints for telehealth reimbursement. But, the temporary nature of both left questions regarding telehealth’s future.

In December 2021, CMS issued new regulations which, collectively, steer telehealth toward becoming a part of the telebehavioral health toolkit accepted by Medicare post-pandemic. In the CY2021 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule2 , further discussed here, CMS broadly expanded access to telebehavioral health services. Specifically, Medicare permanently authorized payment for telehealth services furnished “for purposes of diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of a mental health disorder” under the following relaxed criteria:3. Read full article here: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/cms-supported-telehealth-will-continue-to-be-driving-force-watch-greater-oig