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President Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 6:25 PM

Today, the Trump Administration announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that enables beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Beginning on March 6, 2020, Medicare will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.

“The Trump Administration is taking swift and bold action to give patients greater access to care through telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Administrator Seema Verma. “These changes allow seniors to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit risk of exposure and spread of this virus. Clinicians on the frontlines will now have greater flexibility to safely treat our beneficiaries.”

On March 13, 2020, President Trump announced an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act.  CMS is expanding Medicare’s telehealth benefits under the 1135 waiver authority and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. These actions provide regulatory flexibility to ensure that all Americans—particularly high-risk individuals—are aware of easy-to-use, accessible benefits that can help keep them healthy while helping to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Previously, Medicare was only allowed to pay clinicians for telehealth services such as routine visits in certain circumstances.  Now, a range of healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, will be able to offer telehealth to Medicare beneficiaries. Beneficiaries will be able to receive telehealth services in any healthcare facility including a physician’s office, hospital, nursing home or rural health clinic, as well as from their homes.

 

Click here to read the Fact Sheet on this announcement.


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