On October 29, 2020, CMS issued the Home Health Prospective Payment System final rule [CMS-1730-F, CMS-1744-IFC, and CMS-5531-IFC], which permanently authorizes use of telecommunications technology as part of patient care under the Medicare home health benefit.
The final rule is another regulatory step toward CMS recognizing the critical role of virtual care in the home health and other care settings, beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use of Telecommunications Technology in Home Health Services
In April 2020, CMS had initiated regulatory changes proposing to expand the use of telecommunication in the provision of home health services covered by Medicare. CMS stated that its goal in expanding this permitted use of telecommunications technology in furnishing home health care is to “improve efficiencies, expand the reach of healthcare providers, allow more specialized care in the home, and allow home health agencies to see more patients or to communicate with patients more often.”
In the final rule, effective January 1, 2021, home health agencies (HHAs) will be able to use telecommunications – and receive reimbursement for home health services – under the following conditions: