Remote patient monitoring, or RPM, enables physicians to observe patients’ health outside conventional clinical environments. The patients enrolled in such a care program use devices to measure their vital signs like heart rate, ECG (electrocardiogram), and blood pressure, among others. They do so at home or elsewhere and remotely share the readings with their providers. Providers assess this data to offer diagnoses and prescribe treatments. Codes for CMS remote patient monitoring reimbursement enable more people to access this healthcare service.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) covers RPM services under certain circumstances. Providers seeking remote services must meet the stipulated criteria to be reimbursed adequately. The Covid-19 pandemic prompted policymakers to make RPM codes a priority. They enable providers to serve patients without needing in-person visits and help all the stakeholders in the process.
We will discuss more CMS remote patient monitoring and how providers would be reimbursed as telehealth solutions become more mainstream. But first, it is necessary to know how providers can stand to serve their patients better by offering remote patient monitoring services.
Reasons For Providers To Offer RPM Services
1. Increased Patient Count
One of the most obvious advantages of offering telehealth services is the increase in the number of patients. Needless to point out, when patients can receive care remotely and won’t need to come in person as often, they are bound to stick to one physician. Additionally, as RPM CMS codes explicitly state the conditions for reimbursement, providers can rest assured that they will be adequately reimbursed.
From the patients’ view, a remote patient monitoring program enables them to access specialist care from distant locations. This is especially helpful for people living away from urban locations lacking healthcare facilities.
2. Better Patient Involvement
Whether a patient is covered by private insurance or Medicaid and Medicare services, they tend to be more involved in RPM programs. They would be responsible for measuring their vitals and sharing them with providers. So they would be more aware of their day-to-day health situation. In the case of remote chronic care management, greater patient involvement directly results in them taking their treatment more seriously. In addition to chronic conditions, people suffering from other less serious diseases would benefit from greater involvement.
3. Comprehensive Patient Data
The applications that gather and share patient vitals from RPM devices can be integrated with EHR systems and practice management solutions. This uploads patients’ health data directly to their health records regularly. Providers will better understand the patient’s health situation from such comprehensive clinical information. It facilitates better healthcare management as doctors can make informed treatment decisions.
An added advantage of having regular patient data is the ability to deploy medical informatics solutions for assessment. These solutions garner important insights about patient health and even help providers determine who is at higher risk. It might even help pave the way for a predictive approach to patient care.
Codes For CMS Remote Patient Monitoring Reimbursements
The number of payers covering RPM services is steadily increasing despite some having mixed feelings. But Medicaid and Medicare cover them under specific circumstances. So, providers need to know the reimbursement criteria for providing remote medical services. The CMS RPM codes outline these conditions; any violations will result in denials and rejections. Let’s look at them in detail –
This CMS remote patient monitoring code covers the initial cost of setting up the physical infrastructure for RPM. Additionally, it also covers the costs involved in onboarding patients.
The billing requirements include a prescription by a physician, patient data collection for sixteen days, the use of FDA-approved devices, and service management by certified medical professionals.
This code reimburses providers for supplying people with RPM devices for home health care. Moreover, it also covers related services like installation and programming the devices to collect patient health data. The billing stipulations state that physicians must supply the devices without additional cost and that patients must not be permitted to use their own devices.
This code for CMS remote patient monitoring reimburses healthcare providers or auxiliary staff for their time spent on the services. They include observing, analyzing, and reviewing patients’ vitals remotely. The billing needs to be conducted once a month for 99457.
Additional requirements include a minimum of 20 minutes per month in the time given for remote monitoring of patients. Furthermore, providers are also required to provide at least one live patient interaction. The interaction may be through multiple mediums, including phone calls, video chats, or in-person consultations. This is done using telemedicine software integrated with health information systems. This enables electronic data interchange, allowing physicians to offer remote services efficiently. Providers billing for 99457 must provide CMS with each patient’s treatment plan.
This code adds to the 99457 to cover each 20-minute block over the stipulated time. This is used for billing as per medical necessity since providers can only bill for 99458 as an add-on to 99457. However, they cannot bill for 99458 independently.
This code is for physicians who spend time reviewing the patients’ data from RPM devices. It is to be noted that 99091 can only be billed when physicians spend extra time assessing patient data and not the auxiliary clinical staff. The providers must dedicate at least 30 minutes to assessing patients’ data over a 30-day billing period. These are some of the main codes RPM services must bill for to obtain reimbursement from CMS.
Who Should Provide RPM Services?
Although remote patient monitoring CPT codes outline the criteria for reimbursement, not all providers would be suited to offer these services. As the name indicates, remote patient monitoring involves tracking patient health over some time to watch out for symptoms. This means that providers who offer care for conditions that don’t require hospitalizations or only need a single course of medications won’t be suited for RPM.
The best candidates for RPM services are those who treat acute or chronic conditions. Additionally, providers who care for seniors would also be able to reap the benefits of CMS remote patient monitoring codes. Doctors providing such services would need to supply RPM devices and teach patients to use them. Moreover, they would also need to spend time monitoring patients’ vitals to be able to provide treatments. This makes them the ideal candidate to offer RPM services. They could rest assured that CMS would reimburse their services.
The Covid-19 pandemic catalyzed the coverage of RPM services since people needed to access care remotely. Codes for CMS remote patient monitoring were a necessary first step toward the wider adoption of remote care services. Provides aiming to offer them must be mindful of their patient population before launching. With increasing investments in RPM technology, we can expect more and more providers to be able to step up and offer these services.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.