Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rules – Federal Register

We have received a number of questions regarding which benefit categories HCPCS codes G2061 through G2063 fall under. In the March 31st COVID-19 IFC (85 FR 19244-19245) we established on an interim basis for the duration of the PHE for the COVID-19 pandemic that these services could be billed for example, by licensed clinical social workers and clinical psychologists, as well as PTs, OTs, and SLPs who bill Medicare directly for their services when the service furnished falls within the scope of these practitioner’s benefit categories. We are proposing to adopt that policy on a permanent basis. We note that this is not an exhaustive list and we are seeking comment on other benefit categories into which these services fall.

With regard to the physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services in Table 11, we have received a number of requests that we add therapy services to the Medicare telehealth services list. In the CY 2018 PFS final rule, we noted that section 1834(m)(4)(E) of the Act specifies the types of practitioners who may furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services as those practitioners under section 1842(b)(18)(C) of the Act. Physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs) and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are not among the practitioners identified in section 1842(b)(18)(C) of the Act.

We stated in the CY 2017 PFS final rule (81 FR 80198) that because these services are predominantly furnished by PTs, OTs, and SLPs, we did not believe it would be appropriate to add them to the Medicare telehealth services list at this time. In a subsequent request to consider adding these services for 2018, the original requester suggested that we might propose these services to be added to the Medicare telehealth services list so that payment can be made for them when furnished via telehealth by physicians or practitioners who can serve as distant site practitioners. We stated that since the majority of the codes are furnished over 90 percent of the time by therapy professionals who are not included on the statutory list of eligible distant site practitioners, we believed that adding therapy services to the Medicare telehealth services list could result in confusion about who is authorized to furnish and bill for these services when furnished via telehealth. While we continue to believe this is generally the case, and we are not proposing to add these services permanently to the Medicare telehealth services list, we are seeking comment on whether these services should be added to the Medicare telehealth services list so that, in instances when a practitioner who is eligible to bill for telehealth services furnishes these services via telehealth, they could bill and receive payment for them. We are also seeking comment on whether all aspects of these services can be fully and effectively furnished via two-way, audio/video telecommunications technology. We also note that given our clarification regarding telehealth services furnished incident to the professional services of a physician or practitioner (85 FR 27562), if these services were added to the Medicare telehealth services list, they could be furnished by a therapist and billed by a physician or practitioner who can furnish and bill for telehealth services provided that all of the “incident to” requirements are met.

Link to the Federal Register: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-17127.pdf