When telehealth became a focus during the COVID-19 public health emergency, O&P organizations requested authority to bill some O&P services through virtual appointments. CMS did not agree to the idea, mainly due to statutory barriers that prohibit O&P clinicians from using the telehealth billing codes and confine O&P reimbursement to the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code set, which would require legislation to change.
A report from the US Government Accountability Office found that telehealth use under Medicare increased from about 5 million services in April-December 2019 to more than 53 million services in April-December 2020, and spending increased from about $306 million to about $3.7 billion in that time.1
The article in Healthcare Finance, “Telehealth Payment Parity Only Good Through 2023,” discusses the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that continues telehealth waivers for two years after the public health emergency (PHE) ends in May, but the reimbursement rates that were raised during the PHE are only in place through the end of this year. While telehealth billing capability for O&P providers isn’t currently possible, it is worth asking if it can benefit O&P providers and the patients they care for, and if so, how to make it happen.
To read “Taking Stock of the O&P Policy Agenda, Part I,” visit our website, and watch for Part II in the April issue.
To read “Telehealth payment parity only good through 2023,” visit Healthcare Finance.