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Medicare Telehealth Approved during COVID-19 for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

Friday, May 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jessica Houk
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On April 30th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published an interim final rule that  further expands Medicare waivers during the COVID-19 crisis.  It is our understanding that the new waivers expand Medicare telehealth services to all health care professionals that are eligible to bill for traditional professional services under Medicare. This expansion means audiologists and speech-language pathologists will now be able to provide and bill for telehealth services.  This responds to the request made to CMS by ACI Alliance on April 14.  Retroactive to March 1, audiologists and speech-language pathologists are able to furnish and bill Medicare telehealth services during the period of the public health emergency declaration 

The text of the new Interim Final Rule includes this new addition:

Eligible Practitioners. Pursuant to authority granted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that broadens the waiver authority under section 1135 of the Social Security Act, the Secretary has authorized additional telehealth waivers. CMS is waiving the requirements of section 1834(m)(4)(E) of the Act and 42 CFR § 410.78 (b)(2) which specify the types of practitioners that may bill for their services when furnished as Medicare telehealth services from the distant site. The waiver of these requirements expands the types of health care professionals that can furnish distant site telehealth services to include all those that are eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services. This allows health care professionals who were previously ineligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others, to receive payment for Medicare telehealth services. (CMS Blanket Waivers Document, updated 4/30/20)

The following codes were released for telehealth billing under Medicare:

Added 4/30/2020

92508, speech/hearing therapy*

92601, cochlear implt f/up exam <7

92602, reprogram cochlear implt <7

92603, cochlear implt f/up exam 7/>

92604, reprogram cochlear implt 7/>

S9152, speech therapy, re-eval (noted as “not valid for Medicare purposes)

Added Earlier

92507, speech/hearing therapy*

92521, evaluation of speech fluency*

92522, evaluate speech production*

92523, speech sound lang comprehend*

92524, behavral quality analys voice*

The mission of the American Cochlear Implant (ACI) Alliance is to advance access to the gift of hearing provided by cochlear implantation through research, advocacy and awareness.