We could all use a little bit of good news right now, and this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered some—by issuing a plethora of policies and waivers aimed at providing regulatory flexibility to health care practitioners during this crisis. ACEP advocated hard for a few of these new CMS policies, which are major wins for emergency medicine.
In my blog last week, I talked about two key telehealth-related issues that we were waiting for CMS to weigh in on:
- Allowing medical screening exams (MSEs), a requirement under Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), to be performed via telehealth; and
- Adding the emergency department (ED) evaluation and management (E/M) codes to the list of approved Medicare telehealth services.
And what a difference a week makes! CMS, through a regulation and guidance issued this week, has acted on both of these! Emergency physicians can now perform MSEs via telehealth and the ED E/M codes are now included in the list of approved Medicare services for the duration of the national emergency.
Both these policy changes are critical. Being able to perform MSEs via telehealth will help protect you from unnecessary exposure to the virus and help preserve your limited supply of personal protective equipment. Further, having the ED E/M codes on the approved list of Medicare telehealth services will enable you to get appropriated reimbursed for the high quality and high intensity services you deliver remotely.
You can read ACEP’s summary of all the newly announced CMS policies that will help you here.
We continue to post other key federal guidance and information on our COVID-19 website. Of note, we have created a webpage highlighting new financial support opportunities (made available by the COVID-19 stimulus bill that recently was enacted) that you may be eligible for.
Lastly, I want you to know unequivocally that ACEP is here for you during this difficult time, we are listening and fighting for you, and we are getting concrete results that will make it easier and safer for you to do your job.
Until next week, this is Jeffrey saying, enjoy reading regs with your eggs!
Unfortunately, the Regs & Eggs podcast has been indefinitely suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.