Will Medicare reimburse you for Skyping during 2013?

In 2001, Medicare began providing reimbursement for certain procedures performed via telehealth, but the scope of those services was so limited that a small percentage of providers benefited from the new policy.  Changes in the 2013 fee schedule are poised to somewhat alter this dynamic and make it possible for  a growing percentage of providers to finally benefit from telehealth reimbursements.

These new areas of reimbursement will focus on counseling related to alcohol, substance abuse, depression, STD prevention, cardiovascular disease and obesity.  In particular, beginning next year, Medicare will provide reimbursement for the following:

  1. G0396: Alcohol and/or substance (other than tobacco) abuse structured assessment and brief intervention (15-30 min)
  2. G0397: Alcohol and/or substance (other than tobacco) abuse structured assessment and intervention greater than 30 minutes
  3. G0442: Annual alcohol misuse screening (15 min)
  4. G0443: Brief face-to-face behavioral counseling for alcohol misuse (15 min)
  5. G0444: Annual Depression Screening for adults (15 min)
  6. G0445: High-intensity behavioral counseling to prevent sexually transmitted infections, face-to-face, individual, includes: education, skills training, and guidance on how to change sexual behavior, performed semiannually (30 min)
  7. G0446: Annual, face-to-face intensive behavioral therapy for cardiovascular disease, individual(15 min)
  8. G0447: Face-to-face behavioral counseling for obesity (15 min)

For more information, visit the AAFP’s site and review their summary at: http://www.aafp.org/online/etc/medialib/aafp_org/documents/policy/fed/background/2013feeschedule.Par.0001.File.dat/Final2013MPFS110812.pdf