CMS proposes to overhaul Medicare billing standards, pay for telehealth

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The CMS on Thursday proposed paying doctors for virtual visits and overhauling Medicare billing standards it has had in place since the 1990s.

In a proposed rule, the agency said it would pay doctors for their time when they reach out to beneficiaries via telephone or other telecommunications devices to decide whether an office visit or other service is needed. In addition, the CMS also proposed paying for the time it takes physicians to review a video or image sent by patient seeking care or diagnosis for an ailment. Most physicians bill Medicare for patient visits under a relatively generic set of codes that distinguish level of complexity and site of care, known as evaluation and management visit codes.