In January 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out a new telehealth “indicator” to make information about Medicare telehealth providers on publically-available clinician profile pages more readily available. The new indicator will allow patients and caregivers to easily identify which providers are approved and available to deliver telehealth services. The new indicator has been developed to assist Medicare beneficiaries in finding appropriate providers due to the high demand for providers offering telehealth services. In response, CMS has approved an unprecedented COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) expansion of Medicare payment for telehealth services.
Research Supporting Use of the Telehealth Indicator
CMS has made many changes in direct response to public demand for continued telehealth services, consumer satisfaction with telehealth, and several published reports indicating strong positive outcomes for telehealth. Two primary reports used by Medicare to substantiate the continued approval of Medicare payment for telehealth showed a 30-fold increase in telehealth services, with more than half of Medicare beneficiaries using these services between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. Those studies include the following:
These studies not only reflect the growth in patients seeking telehealth due to the ongoing Public Health Emergency (PHE) but also help to substantiate and legitimize CMS funding for telehealth service reimbursement, particularly for behavioral telehealth. Supportive studies also fueled the recent expansion of approved Medicare providers to include mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and other specialty providers who previously were denied reimbursement despite being licensed. Adding an indicator to clinician profile pages in the Medicare Care Compare and the Provider Data Catalog (PDC) is intended to clarify which clinicians offer telehealth services for website users.
Benefits of the Telehealth Indicator
As outlined in the CMS public webpage explaining the telehealth indicator initiative, the addition of the indicator is…
From Telebehavioral Health Institute – Read More