On behalf of the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign, we’re excited to share information about our next webinar on February 18, 2021, “Connecting Children to Coverage and Care: Medicaid and CHIP Comprehensive Dental Benefits Help Children Achieve Better Health and Healthier Smiles.” Additional information about the webinar and registration link are included here (Register Now!).

As promised, CMS has responded to the Follow-Up Questions from the September 19, 2020 CMS Virtual Presentation sponsored by NAME/HSC.

CMS RESPONSES TO 11-19-2020 PRESENTATION.pdf

The Center for Connected Health Policy has released their State by state status report on telehealth. Click below to keep informed about telehealth-related laws, regulation and Medicaid programs in your state.

https://www.cchpca.org/telehealth-policy/current-state-laws-and-reimbursement-policies?jurisdiction=71&category=All&topic=All

On October 14, the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) updated its Medicaid telehealth toolkit to include additional detail on telehealth modalities, tools to support states in analyzing and further developing telehealth benefits, and specific examples from several states. This comprehensive tool includes special consideration pediatric populations and compiles a variety of other federal telehealth resources for states.

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded the list of telehealth services that Medicare Fee-For-Service will pay for during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (PHE). CMS is also providing additional support to state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their efforts to expand access to telehealth.

Expanding Medicare Telehealth Services

For the first time using a new expedited process, CMS is adding 11 new services to the Medicare telehealth services list since the publication of the May 1, 2020, COVID-19 Interim Final Rule with comment period (IFC). Medicare will begin paying eligible practitioners who furnish these newly added telehealth services effective immediately, and for the duration of the PHE. The list of these newly added services is available at: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/Telehealth/Telehealth-Codes.

In the May 1 COVID-19 IFC, CMS modified the process for adding or deleting services from the Medicare telehealth services list to allow for expedited consideration of additional telehealth services during the PHE outside of rulemaking. This update to the Medicare telehealth services list builds on the efforts CMS has already taken to increase Medicare beneficiaries’ access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 PHE.

Preliminary Medicaid and CHIP Data Snapshot on Telehealth Utilization and Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit Supplement

In an effort to provide greater transparency on telehealth access in Medicaid and CHIP, CMS is releasing, for the first time, a preliminary Medicaid and CHIP data snapshot on telehealth utilization during the PHE. This snapshot shows, among other things, that there have been more than 34.5 million services delivered via telehealth to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries between March and June of this year, representing an increase of more than 2,600% when compared to the same period from the prior year. The data also shows that adults ages 19-64 received the most services delivered via telehealth, although there was substantial variance across both age groups and states.  

To further drive telehealth, CMS is releasing a new supplement to its State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit: Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth, COVID-19 Version that provides numerous new examples and insights into lessons learned from states that have implemented telehealth changes. The updated supplemental information is intended to help states strategically think through how they explain and clarify to providers and other stakeholders which policies are temporary or permanent. It also helps states identify services that can be accessed through telehealth, which providers may deliver those services, the ways providers may use in order to deliver services through telehealth, as well as the circumstances under which telehealth can be reimbursed once the PHE expires.

The toolkit includes approaches and tools states can use to communicate with providers on utilizing telehealth for patient care. It updates and consolidates in one place the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and resources for states to consider as they begin planning beyond the temporary flexibilities provided in response to the pandemic.

To view the Medicaid and CHIP data snapshot on telehealth utilization during the PHE, please visit: https://www.medicaid.gov/resources-for-states/downloads/medicaid-chip-beneficiaries-COVID-19-snapshot-data-through-20200630.pdf.

On October 2, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced an additional extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). This declaration becomes effective October 23. Assuming a full 90-day declaration from this extension, the PHE will now last through January 21, 2021.

On October 1, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a third phase of general distribution funding from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). HHS is allocating $20 billion for this funding round, with details on eligibility and payment methodology available here. The application period for this third round opens on Monday, October 5 and closes on November 6. Brief notes on eligibility and payment aspects are below.

  • Eligibility: Any provider that has previously received, accepted, or rejected a general distribution award; behavioral health providers; and health care providers that began practicing between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020. 
  • Payment Methodology: Initial payments will be made to any provider that has not yet received a total of two percent of net patient revenue from the PRF, including providers who have received no PRF payment to date or providers who have received some payment below two percent of net patient revenue. With the remaining $20 billion after these payments, add-on payments will be made based on changes in a provider's net patient revenue and operating expenses, with consideration for any previous PRF funding awards made to that provid

Save the date! October 14, 2020, 2pm ET, CMS Update: Behavioral Health and Delegated Authority.

This webinar, presented jointly by the National Alliance for Medicaid in Education (NAME) and Healthy Schools Campaign, will provide an update from CMS on behavioral health and delegated authority.

REGISTRATION OPEN

Click Here for more information on membership or to login to the members only site.

Save the date! September 30, 2020, 2pm EST, Opportunities for School-Based Telehealth during COVID-19.

This webinar, presented jointly by the National Alliance for Medicaid in Education (NAME) and Healthy Schools Campaign, will provide an overview of the laws, regulations and policies that govern the delivery of telehealth in schools and how utilization can support access to care for Medicaid eligible students.

REGISTRATION OPEN

Click Here for more information on membership or to login to the members only site.

September 01/2020: Ohio Medicaid has filed permanent rules to continue expanded telehealth options beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Department sited preliminary data in their decision-making, which showed that telehealth was very popular, especially for behavioral health services. "This permanent expansion of clinically appropriate telehealth services allows us to increase access to quality care while maintaining the fiscal sustainability and integrity of Ohio's Medicaid program," said Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran in a statement.

Read more about Ohio's telehealth expansion here.