The Advocacy Council and College are advocating for you! COVID-19 is changing the way you practice and we want you to be paid for every service you provide!
On Monday, March 16, the Advocacy Council and College sent a letter to The Honorable Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting payment for services you provide via telephone during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While some insurance carriers have already taken action to implement reimbursement for these services, we have asked to make this reimbursement available for all Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurances as a substitute for a follow-up visit using follow-up visit codes.
Currently, telephone services must be initiated by an established patient. If the conversation ends with a decision for the patient to be seen by the physician with 24 hours (or next available appointment), the telephone code is not reported. Additionally, if the call refers to an E&M performed within the previous 7-days, the telephone service is not reported. In the past, most telephone codes were paid poorly or not covered.
On Saturday, March 14, College leadership contacted Todd Askew, AMA’s Vice President for Government Affairs, Washington, DC – asking for AMA support and advocacy to achieve our goal of telephone consultation reimbursement. Also on Saturday, Senator Lindsey Graham’s Chief of Staff, Richard Perry, of the Corona Virus Task Force, was contacted for additional support and advocacy on this issue.
In addition, we are in the process of contacting the leaders of the state medical associations to encourage state Medicaid officials and commercial insurers to cover reimbursement for telephone encounters. If you have contacts at your state medical association or with any insurance carriers, we ask you to reach out to each of them as well. You can modify this template for your communication.
We continue to monitor government response to the COVID-19 outbreak and will keep you advised at every step. The Advocacy Council – we have you covered.