The proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, released on July 13 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), includes expanded reimbursement for behavioral health services delivered by telehealth, including reimbursing providers for audio-only telephone calls. The proposed expansion would allow Medicare beneficiaries with mental health or substance abuse disorders to receive diagnosis, evaluation and treatment in their homes, assuming certain conditions are met.

The proposed rule also addresses the continuation of the temporary expansion of telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency, which is currently expected to last through 2021. As CMS’s Fact Sheet on the proposed rule states, CMS proposes to extend the expansion through December 31, 2023, “so that there is a glide path to evaluate whether the services should be permanently added to the telehealth list following the COVID-19 PHE.”

The proposed rule includes many other financial and policy proposals on which CMS is requesting feedback. CMS will accept comments from the public until September 13.