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The 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule, released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) earlier this month, extended certain telehealth-related flexibilities that were implemented during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. CMS issued a Fact Sheet summarizing the telehealth updates, as well as other important Medicare policy changes.

Until 2020, Medicare reimbursed for telehealth only for patients in designated rural areas, and they were required to travel to a healthcare facility to access telehealth services. Certain federal policies that expanded telehealth access during the pandemic were set to expire at the end of 2023, but they have now been extended for another year to synchronize with other provisions that were already extended until December 31, 2024 by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023.

Among the newly extended flexibilities is continuing to define “direct supervision” to permit the presence and immediate availability of a supervising practitioner through real-time audio and video communications.

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