Urgent Care Billing Insights - February 2021 - Featured Image

How much financial relief will urgent care providers get from the government? While legislators debate the budget, you can expect more clarity and movement to help providers recoup some of their losses. In this month’s “3 Things to Know About RCM,” we provide information on what to expect, plus tips for handling the influx of vaccination calls and telehealth visits.

How COVID changed telehealth

Even before the coronavirus threw healthcare into a frenzy, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was watching telehealth. According to CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, “The pandemic accentuated just how transformative it could be, and several months in, it’s clear that the healthcare system has adapted seamlessly to a historic telehealth expansion that inaugurates a new era in healthcare delivery.”

As a response to the overwhelming growth in telehealth, CMS published two interim final rules in March and May that expanded telehealth to include coverage for emergency care, nursing home visits, and physical therapy—more than 144 telehealth services were added during the public health emergency.

According to a factsheet from CMS, between mid-March and mid-October, more than 24.5 million of 63 million beneficiaries and enrollees used telehealth services.

Some of the biggest changes include:

  • New services to provide greater access
  • Higher limits on the allowed frequency of visits at nursing facilities
  • Requirement to broaden use of direct supervision
  • Clarification on telecommunication use when patient and provider are at the same location
  • The establishment of payment on an interim final basis for a new HCPCS G-code describing 11-20 minutes of medical discussion to determine the necessity of an in-person visit.

See the CMS factsheet for more details.

More Relief for Providers on the Way

On Dec. 16, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it added $4.5 billion to the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) phase 3 distribution to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare providers.

According to Alex Azar, HHS Secretary, $24 billion in new relief to more than 70,000 providers should help offset close to 90 percent of COVID-related losses.

In addition, the December 27 COVID package and President Biden’s proposed new legislation both come as a welcome relief to pandemic-weary providers.

ISO Vaccinations

As healthcare providers and other designated vaccination administration sites respond to the surge in requests for vaccinations, urgent care clinics are being inundated with patients hoping to get on the list. Guidance on patient communication, storage and handline of vaccines, reporting, and tracking is available from the CDC. Tap into these online resources to help your staff manage this new challenge.

Interested in more urgent care tips, best practices, and industry updates? Check out our December and January installments.

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