IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING COVID-19 AND TELEHEALTH!
Hello, PT’s! We’ve been receiving A LOT of questions from therapists that are looking for business continuity solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we’re still busy as heck polishing up the final version of the Morphose Home Exercise Program, we’re also preparing to release a telehealth feature that stands alone and will be available for use ASAP. Please use the contact form on this website for questions, follow us on Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletter to get up-to-the-minute notifications about when that will be available.
In the meantime, we recommend using Google Hangouts or Zoom. While not inherently HIPAA compliant, effective immediately, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will exercise enforcement discretion and waive penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients in good faith through everyday communications technologies, such as FaceTime or Skype, during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
Please also see the very important memo below!
April 8, 2020: As of this moment, Medicare reimburses physical therapists for remote visits referred to as "E-Visits." While E-Visits do not reimburse at the same rate as standard physical therapy CPT codes, they do allow physical therapists to bill for video-audio visits during the current Covid-19 pandemic. A physical therapist can only bill for a Medicare E-Visit once during a 7-day period. All video-audio visit time can be added into one E-Visit charge. The maximum reimbursement for a Medicare E-Visit during a 7-day period is approximately $34 if the total time is >21 minutes. Justifiable confusion and frustration exists in the physical therapy world regarding E-Visit reimbursement secondary to a March 30, 2020 publication from CMS (Medicare governing body). The CMS publication (see link below) states includes standard physical therapy CPT codes as codes billable at Telehealth Visits for physical therapy. However, the publication does not list physical therapists as authorized providers to bill these CPT codes, but rather lists physicians and physician assistants as providers who may bill physical therapy CPT codes through Telehealth. Physician-owned practices (referred to as POPs) customarily use the NPT number of the "supervising" physician (owner of the PT clinic) when a physical therapist bills for a patient in-person visit. This represents a major problem with our profession and a huge oversight by CMS to support physical therapy providers and practices struggling to generate revenue and serve a patient population who needs care.
Please call your State Senators and Representatives and explain to them why physical therapists need to be able to bill Medicare for Telehealth physical therapy visits using standard CPT codes and reimbursement. Physical therapists must be included as Telehealth providers for Medicare patients. Hopefully CMS will modify their March 30, 2020 ruling.
On a positive note, most commercial insurance payers are now recognizing the importance of physical therapists as Telehealth providers. While it is important to check with each insurance payer, patients with commercial insurance can now receive Teleheatlh evaluation and treatment using standard physical therapy CPT codes at full reimbursement rates. Applicable deductible and co-insurance, co-payment obligations are temporarily being waived secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, it is advisable to contact each provider to determine if a unit limit exists and to determine which modifier(s) should accompany the Telehealth charges.