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UPDATE - Medicare Coverage and MORE - 12-23-22

December 23, 2022 7:18 PM | Anonymous


UPDATE: Medicare Coverage and Parity Changes for LCSWS

There continue to be questions about the change to Medicare policy about treating patients across state lines. Different regions have different policies in this regard. Look at the section in yellow below and call your MAC to get information about a region you wish to practice in. Here is more detailed information on the telehealth changes: https://telehealth.hhs.gov/providers/billing-and-reimbursement/medicare-payment-policies-during-covid-19/

Telehealth Policy Changes

The federal government announced a series of policy changes that broaden Medicare coverage for telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Some important changes to Medicare telehealth coverage and reimbursement during this period include:

  • Location: No geographic restrictions for patients or providers
  • Eligible providers: All health care providers who are eligible to bill Medicare can bill for telehealth services, including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • Eligible services: See the list of telehealth services from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Cost-sharing: Providers can reduce or waive patient cost-sharing (copayments and deductibles) for telehealth visits
  • Licensing: Providers can furnish services outside their state of enrollment. For questions about new enrollment flexibilities, or to enroll for temporary billing privileges, use this list of Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to call the hotline for your area
  • Modality: The 2022 Physician Fee Schedule has codified the ability for behavior health services to do audio only. It is still required to complete an in-person appointment every 6 months.

Mental Health Parity

There is one more piece of good news in the omnibus bill. You may recall that when the parity act passed in 2008 there was a loophole that allowed public plans to opt out of having a mental health benefit at all. That meant that they did not have to have a benefit AT PARITY with medical/surgical benefits. That loophole has been closed in the omnibus bill. This means a million more people will have mandated mental health treatment. More information can be found at https://www.thekennedyforum.org/blog/these-major-employers-have-opted-out-of-providing-adequate-mental-health-addiction-coverage/

H.R. 432, Mental Health Access Improvement Act

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act passed as part of the omnibus bill. This means that LMFTs and LPCs are now Medicare providers. Their reimbursement rates will be 75% of psychologist rates, like LCSWs, or 80% of their usual and customary rates, whichever is less. This is possibly more than what LCSWs are paid and CSWA will be looking into keeping LCSWs at the same reimbursement level.

These changes were passed by the House this morning so the President should be signing the bill shortly.

Happy Holidays!

Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

PO Box 105
Granville, Ohio  43023

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