The new regulatory waivers will allow PTs, OTs, and SLPs to engage in patient-initiated "e-visits" for purposes of assessment and management services.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- eWellness Healthcare Corporation (“eWellness”, “EWLL”, “the Company”), a provider of the state of the art PHZIO platform for the digital physical therapy (“PT”) and telehealth markets announced today that In the federal government’s rapidly evolving response to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that it is easing Medicare telehealth restrictions in ways that could allow PTs to provide "e-visits," a limited type of service that must be initiated by the patient. Prior to this change CMS did not recognize PTs among the health care professionals allowed to bill codes associated with the visits.
The change, announced midday on March 17, is part of a set of loosened requirements that CMS has adopted to expand the provision of telehealth and patient-initiated digital communications, such as e-visits, to help blunt the spread of COVID-19. For the most part, PTs remain outside the reach of these so-called "1135 waivers" related to telehealth, with one exception: a type of remote interaction CMS calls an e-visit under Medicare Part B.
In its 2020 physician fee schedule final rule, CMS describes e-visits as “non face-to-face patient-initiated digital communications that require a clinical decision that otherwise typically would have been provided in the office.” The code descriptors suggest the codes are intended to cover short-term (up to seven days) assessments that are conducted online or via some other digital platform, and include any associated clinical decision-making.
Under the waivers guidance issued by CMS, Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for e-visits no matter their geographic region or physical location, meaning that the provisions have been expanded to nonrural areas and can take place with patients in their homes. The big news for PT’s and their patients is that, for the first time, PT’s will be allowed to bill for e-visits under codes associated with online assessment and management services (codes G2061, G2062, and G2063). To determine the reimbursement rates for G2061-G2063, visit the CMS Physician Fee Schedule lookup tool. Medicare coinsurance and deductible would apply to the services.
To qualify as an e-visit, three basic qualifications must be met: the billing practice must have an established relationship with the patient, meaning the provider must have an existing provider-patient relationship; the patient must initiate the inquiry for an e-visit and verbally consent to check-in services; and the communications must be limited to a seven-day period through an "online patient portal."
Although the patient must initiate, CMS writes in a fact sheet that "practitioners may educate beneficiaries on the availability of the service prior to patient initiation." For example, if a patient cancels treatment because they can’t come to the clinic or are concerned about leaving home, then the PT may advise the patient that she or her can reach out to the therapists as needed.
eWellness Healthcare Corporation (EWLL) is the first physical therapy telehealth company to offer real-time distance monitored assessments and treatments. Our business model is to have large-scale employers use our MSK360 and/or our PHZIO platform as a fully PT monitored corporate musculoskeletal (“MSK”) wellness program. The Company’s MSK360 and PHZIO home physical therapy assessment and exercise platform has been designed to disrupt the $30 billion physical therapy market, the $4 billion MSK market and the $8 billion corporate wellness industry. PHZIO re-defines the way MSK physical therapy can be delivered. PHZIO is the first real-time remote monitored 1-to-many MSK physical therapy platform for home use.
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For additional information on eWellness Healthcare Corporation and its PHZIO telehealth products please contact Mr. Darwin Fogt, CEO: 1-855-470-1700