• CMS: Patients can self-report vitals for Medicare AWV telehealth visits

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently clarified that during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) patients may self-report vital signs and other biometric data for Medicare Annual Wellness Visits (AWV) done via telehealth.

    The Medicare AWV was on the CMS list of covered telehealth services before the current PHE. However, CMS previously required that telehealth services be rendered to patients at “originating sites,” which were health care facilities where staff could potentially collect the data. When the PHE took effect, CMS waived the originating site requirement (and several other restrictions), allowing telehealth services to be rendered to patients in their homes. This raised questions about how to collect the AWV measurements (i.e. height. weight, blood pressure, other measurements deemed appropriate based on medical and family history).

    During a May 12, 2020, COVID-19 Office Hours call, CMS staff first reaffirmed that an AWV can be provided via telehealth. Staff then went on to say that, as for vital signs or other biometric data, if the patient can self-report them, then that can count for purposes of the AWV. Therefore, if patients are able to take their own measurements for the AWV, those measurements can be recorded in the medical record as reported by the patient. CMS plans to issue formal guidance on this soon, including guidance for when the patient is not able to self-report.

    — Kent Moore, Senior Strategist for Physician Payment

    Posted on May 28, 2020 by Kent Moore

    Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. Some payers may not agree with the advice given. This is not a substitute for current CPT and ICD-9 manuals and payer policies. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.