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COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions CMA has received during the COVID-19 outbreak. By default, the most recent answers will appear up top. You can also filter the FAQ by category. We will update this resource regularly.

More questions? Email communications@cmadocs.org.


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Archive by category: Practice ManagementReturn
No. CMS will permit physicians to select the level of office/outpatient E/M visit (CPT codes 99201-99215) furnished via Medicare telehealth based on time or medical decision making. CMS removed any requirements regarding documentation of history and/or physical exam in the medical record for such visits. For visits occurring on or after January 1, 2021, practices should utilize the 2021 guidelines for codes 99202–99215, which can be based on time or MDM. For more information see the AMA CP...
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| Categories: Telehealth, Practice Management

Can I bill telehealth services for new patients?

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Yes. CMS has clarified in its guidance that physicians can provide the expanded list of telehealth services during the emergency to new or established Medicare patients. Additionally, regulatory guidance from the DMHC, DHCS and CDI collectively indicates that during the state of emergency plans must reimburse providers at the same rate, whether a service is provided in-person or through telehealth, if the service is medically appropriate and is the same regardless of the modality of de...
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| Categories: Telehealth, Practice Management
Regulators issued guidance requiring plans and insurers to comply with the telehealth parity requirements beginning as early as mid-March. For detailed information on the parity rules by payor type, see CMA’s COVID-19 Telehealth Toolkit for Medical Practices.Physicians may also appeal in writing. If your practice is experiencing issues with a particular payor, CMA members can contact CMA’s Center for Economic Services for assistance at (888) 401-5911 or economicservices@cmadocs....
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| Categories: Telehealth, Practice Management
​​​​​​​Medi-Cal’s telehealth policy allows providers to bill DHCS as clinically appropriate for any covered Medi-Cal benefits or services using the appropriate procedure codes, either CPT or HCPCS.
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| Categories: Telehealth, Practice Management
On March 18, 2020, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued an All Plan Letter (APL 20-009) requiring plans to immediately begin reimbursing for telehealth services, including telephonic visits, at the same rate as those provided in-person, when medically appropriate.
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| Categories: Telehealth, Practice Management

What ICD-10 code do I use?

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New ICD-10 codes have been established by the World Health Organization (WHO). Interim coding guidance was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it issued additional guidance in December, 2020. The American Medical Association has also published special coding advice on COVID-19.
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| Categories: Practice Management
Governor Newsom issued a directive requiring health insurance companies to waive member cost-sharing amounts for screening and testing for the COVID-19 disease.
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| Categories: Outdated, Testing, Practice Management

What CPT code do I use with a COVID-19 test?

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The American Medical Association (AMA) approved new additions to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set to help streamline data-driven resource and allocation planning. For more information, see the AMA CPT COVID-19 CPT Coding and Guidance webpage.
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| Categories: Outdated, Testing, Practice Management
On April 13, 2020, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) announced that it would be covering telehealth services for injured workers.
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| Categories: Telehealth, Practice Management
In California, the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance instructed their regulated payors to reimburse for telehealth services, including telephonic visits, at the same rate as those provided in-person during the public health emergency.
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| Categories: Telehealth, Practice Management
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