Reimbursement available for providers counseling patients during COVID-19 testing
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, and the CDC recently announced that health care providers can be reimbursed for counseling patients about the importance of self-isolation at the time of COVID-19 testing.
CDC models show that patients who do not yet have symptoms of COVID-19 but self-isolate while waiting for test results or symptom onset can reduce the risk for transmission by up to 86%, according to a CDC press release. In contrast, there is about a 40% reduction in transmission when patients isolate after symptom onset.
CMS said it will use existing evaluation and management payment codes to reimburse health care providers who are eligible to bill CMS for counseling patients on self-isolation during COVID-19 testing, regardless of where the test is administered.
Counseling services include discussions about the immediate need to self-isolate before the test results are available, the importance of informing household contacts that they should also be tested for COVID-19, as well as signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and services that can help patients isolate at home. Providers should also counsel patients that if they test positive, they must wear a mask at all times and they should tell their recent contacts about their infection in case those individuals need to be tested and self-isolate, the release said. In addition, providers should tell patients that they will be contacted by public health officials if they test positive and will be asked to provide information for contact tracing.
For more information and resource links in the CMS Counseling Check List, click here.