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When you spend time with a patient and counsel them to self-isolate due to concerns over COVID-19, you’re using the expertise you’ve developed through years of training and treating others. Up until now, however, there’s been no mechanism to reimburse you for that that time, which you could be spending to provide revenue-generating care. Recognizing this, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that payment will be available to healthcare providers who counsel patients, at the time of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing, about the importance of self-isolation after they are tested and before the onset of symptoms. The decision to offer this reimbursement was supported by CDC data showing an 86% reduction in transmission when patients who ultimately test positive self-isolate before symptom onset. Therefore, the reasoning goes, when clinicians advise patients to self-isolate between testing and results they’re providing a service designed to safeguard public health. CMS will use existing evaluation and management (E/M) payment codes to reimburse providers who are eligible to bill CMS for counseling services no matter where a test is administered, including urgent care centers. For more information, visit this page on the CMS website.

Are You Getting Reimbursed for Counseling Patients to Self-Isolate? Now You Can