Can practitioners provide Medicare telehealth services using their phones?



Yes, for use of certain phones. Section 1135(b)(8) of the Social Security Act allows the Secretary to authorize use of telephones that have audio and video capabilities for the furnishing of Medicare telehealth services during the COVID-19 PHE. Additionally, CMS amended its regulations through the IFC to remove the potential perception of restrictions on technology that practitioners can use to provide telehealth services.  The Office of Civil Rights has also issued guidance allowing covered health care providers to use popular applications that allow for video chats, including Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype, to provide telehealth without risk of penalty for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules related to the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. For more information: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergencypreparedness/index.html  (Source: CMS FAQ New: 4/9/20)

Blog by Amie Martin, OTR/L, CHC, RAC-CT, Proactive Medical Review

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