Few key items for Medicare beneficiaries outlined in the fact sheet include in-home specimen collection and telehealth expansion

Few key items for Medicare beneficiaries outlined in the fact sheet include in-home specimen collection and telehealth expansion:


  1. Medicare will pay laboratory technicians to travel to a beneficiary’s home to collect a specimen for COVID-19 testing, eliminating the need for the beneficiary to travel to a healthcare facility for a test and risk exposure to themselves or others. Under certain circumstances, hospitals and other entities will also temporarily be able to perform tests for COVID-19 on people at home and in other community-based settings.


  1. CMS is expanding access to telehealth services for people with Medicare. This means they can receive care where they are: at home or in a nursing or assisted living facility. If they have COVID-19, they can remain in isolation and prevent spread the virus. If they aren’t infected, they can get care without risking exposure to others who may be ill.

CMS will now pay for more than 80 additional services when furnished via telehealth. These include emergency department visits, initial nursing facility and discharge visits, and home visits, which must be provided by a clinician that is allowed to provide telehealth.

Providers also can evaluate beneficiaries who have audio phones only.

CMS is allowing telehealth to fulfill many face-to-face visit requirements for clinicians to see their patients in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, hospice and home health. During the pandemic, individuals can use commonly available interactive apps with audio and video capabilities to visit with their clinicians.

Home Health Agencies can provide more services to beneficiaries using telehealth, so long as it is part of the patient’s plan of care and does not replace needed in-person visits as ordered on the plan of care.

Hospice providers can also provide services to a Medicare patient receiving routine home care through telehealth if it is feasible and appropriate to do so.

If a physician determines that a Medicare beneficiary should not leave home because of a medical contraindication or due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and the beneficiary needs skilled services, he or she will be considered homebound and qualify for the Medicare Home Health Benefit. As a result, the beneficiary can receive services at home.

Virtual Check-In services, or brief check-ins between a patient and their doctor by audio or video device, could previously only be offered to patients that had an established relationship with their doctor. Now, doctors can provide these services to both new and established patients.

Clinicians can provide remote patient monitoring services for patients, no matter if it is for the COVID-19 disease or a chronic condition. For example, remote patient monitoring can be used to monitor a patient’s oxygen saturation levels using pulse oximetry.


Fact Sheet: