CMS Criteria for Submitted Requests
Requests for adding services to the list of Medicare telehealth services are assigned by CMS to one of the following categories:
- Category 1: Services that are similar to professional consultations, office visits, and office psychiatry services that are currently on the list of telehealth services. In reviewing these requests, we look for similarities between the requested and existing telehealth services for the roles of, and interactions among, the beneficiary, the physician (or other practitioner) at the distant site and, if necessary, the telepresenter. We also look for similarities in the telecommunications system used to deliver the proposed service, for example, the use of interactive audio and video equipment.
- Category 2: Services that are not similar to the current list of telehealth services. Our review of these requests will include an assessment of whether the service is accurately described by the corresponding code when delivered via telehealth and whether the use of a telecommunications system to deliver the service produces demonstrated clinical benefit to the patient. Requestors should submit evidence indicating that the use of a telecommunications system in delivering the candidate telehealth service produces clinical benefit to the patient. The evidence submitted should include both a description of relevant clinical studies that demonstrate the service furnished by telehealth to a Medicare beneficiary improves the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury or improves the functioning of a malformed body part, including dates and findings and a list and copies of published peer reviewed articles relevant to the service when furnished via telehealth. Our evidentiary standard of clinical benefit will not include minor or incidental benefits. Some examples of clinical benefit include the following:
- Ability to diagnose a medical condition in a patient population without access to clinically appropriate in person diagnostic services.
- Treatment option for a patient population without access to clinically appropriate in person treatment options.
- Reduced rate of complications.
- Decreased rate of subsequent diagnostic or therapeutic interventions (for example, due to reduced rate of recurrence of the disease process).
- Decreased number of future hospitalizations or physician visits.
- More rapid beneficial resolution of the disease process treatment.
- Decreased pain, bleeding, or other quantifiable symptom.
- Reduced recovery time.