Welcome to Monday Minute with Melinda! This week’s video clip will recap some of the documentation requirements for telehealth and the OIG audit to take place.

Hello everyone and welcome to our Monday minute. Today I want to talk to you about telehealth services that are being provided in home health and hospice during the current public health emergency. With the 1135 waivers that CMS issued back at the beginning of the public health emergency (March of 2020), agencies were encouraged to provide telehealth services when necessary to continue to monitor and care for patients who were both in home health and hospice. There were certain circumstances or situations that prohibited the caregivers from entering the patient’s home. In some cases, the patients were not allowing clinicians into the home. There were multiple circumstances surrounding it. The reality is, the telehealth services being provided by home health and hospices are not billable to Medicare. We have tried and tried to get across the point that agencies need to be paid for these telehealth visits but with traditional Medicare, you are not.

While some Medicare Advantage plans and other payers may pay for some telehealth services, traditional Medicare still does not do so. They are saying that the OIG audit that will be conducted will be issued in 2022. We are expecting this audit to confirm the necessity of agencies being able to provide telehealth services to patients and the benefits to both agency personnel and patients that telehealth brings. I want to make sure that you hear clearly that the requirement and possibly part of the audit that the OIG will be conducting includes that if you provide telehealth services you must have on the plan of care of the patient, that it will be conducted as a telehealth visit. You cannot just take orders for in person visit and say oh today I think I’ll do a telehealth visit instead. They have to be written orders for telehealth visits and have documentation to support what you will accomplish during those telehealth visits.

Again, those telehealth visits not being reimbursable by Medicare, you would not include them on your claim. We do however, encourage agencies to use this method of treatment when necessary. Or when you feel that it is pertinent to the patient’s current situation. You’re required to ensure that you are not in any way impeding the patient’s health by providing telehealth visits and there should be documentation to support that. We wanted to recap the telehealth situation as far as the documentation and making sure that you have orders. In addition to that, alerting you of the OIG audit that’s going to be taking place in hope of positive outcomes from that so that we can get payment from Medicare for those services in the future.

Thank you again for participating today. Be strong, serving our communities and patients. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email if you have any additional questions. Also, make sure to check with your state homecare associations for assistance or additional education that they might be providing. Thanks again and I hope you have a great week.

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