US CMS finalises permanent expansion of telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its annual Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule. The final rule took a step forward to improve Medicare by prioritising the expansion of proven alternatives, such as telehealth. Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar confirmed that medicare beneficiaries will be able to receive a series of new telehealth services. In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMS added 144 telehealth services to the list of services covered by Medicare through the end of the pandemic. The CMS data shows over 24.5 million out of 63 million beneficiaries have received Medicare telehealth services during mid-March to mid-October 2020. The final rule adds over 60 services to the Medicare telehealth list that will be covered by Medicare beyond the end of the pandemic.