What does the future hold for billing telemedicine? – Ophthalmic Professional

If the pandemic-related rules expire, what might change?

It seems like we’re almost at the end of the pandemic — but with COVID there have been many twists and turns. While we’re all tired of it (I know I am), the pandemic has at least proven that we’re resourceful and can come up with new ways to get our patients treated.

One example has been telemedicine (TM), which many (but not all) practices embraced during the lockdowns we endured early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The feedback from both patients and caregivers has been positive, and many want it expanded. Payers, including Medicare, largely relaxed their rules since they knew it was good medicine not to just ignore chronic diseases.

A few months ago, as part of passage of the 2022 Final Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took the opportunity to slightly relax their rules for TM, which had historically been fairly restrictive in terms of which codes providers could use and under which circumstances. Medicare’s rules during the pandemic were VERY relaxed; but the new MPFS 2022 rules would be somewhere in-between the old strict rules the pandemic rules.

I’ve often been asked recently “what happens next?” Which rules do we follow if we want to continue to utilize TM?

This article was published in Ophthalmic Professional’s Coding column, and written by Corcoran’s Senior Consultant, Paul Larson, MBA, MMSC, COMT, COE, CPC, CPMA. To view the entire article in Ophthalmic Professional, click here.

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