In an effort to protect vulnerable patient populations from the transmission of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) called on Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to amend Place of Service Billing Codes and provide waivers to allow reimbursement for physical therapy services delivered through telehealth appointments.

“As the nation comes to grips with the growing health challenge imposed by COVID-19, it is critical that we take steps to ensure patients who rely on physical therapy services to manage their chronic and acute pain are able to continue receiving these services,” said Nikesh Patel, Executive Director of APTQI. “By allowing Medicare reimbursement for physical therapy services provided through telehealth appointments, we can ensure vulnerable patient populations can remain safely at home while still having access to the physical therapy providers they depend on.”

Under current law, physical therapists are able to receive Medicare reimbursement for services delivered either in the patient home or office/outpatient setting (Place of Service codes 12 and 11, respectively). However, those services provided through virtual telehealth appointments are not currently eligible for Medicare reimbursement (Place of Service code 02). This poses access obstacles to patients who, in an effort to shield themselves from the possible transmission of COVID-19, cannot risk attending in-person physical therapy sessions, either in the home or office/outpatient settings.

“With Congress and the administration working to equip the U.S. healthcare system with the necessary tools to mitigate the impact of this disease, we urge our elected leaders to recognize the needs of the PT patient population and allow waivers for Medicare reimbursement of physical therapy services delivered through telehealth appointments,” Patel concludes.

[Source(s): Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation,]