CMS COVID-19 Update

In an update from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 17, CMS widened Medicare's telehealth benefits under the 1135 Waiver Authority and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which now allows more telepractice options for providers such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers who will now be able to offer telehealth to Medicare beneficiaries. However, therapy (physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services) were NOT included in that update. Therapists were mentioned only on a fact sheet about the new guidance as allowable for reimbursement under "e-visits," which did NOT include treatments, and not under the Medicare telehealth or "virtual visits" categories.

Many of our associations, (e.g., NASL, ASHA, APTA, and AOTA) have advocated to Congress for several years to have rehabilitation therapists on this list. It is our hope that CMS would waive this and allow therapist to also provide services via telepractice.