Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak

Health Care   |   March 18, 2020

Yesterday, the White House announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable a wider range of health care services without a patient appearing at a health care facility in person. Medicare will now temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.

Under President Trump’s emergency declaration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding Medicare’s telehealth benefits to allow a range of health care providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, to provide telehealth to Medicare beneficiaries. Beneficiaries will now be able to receive telehealth services in any health care facility, including a physician’s office, hospital, nursing home, or rural health clinic, as well as from their homes.

No specific location requirement:

CMS maintains a list of services that are normally furnished in person that may be furnished via Medicare telehealth. However, under the emergency declaration, and waivers, these services may now be provided to patients by professionals regardless of patient location.

No established relationship requirement:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will not conduct audits to ensure that such a prior relationship existed for claims submitted during this public health emergency.

No specialized equipment needed to furnish Medicare telehealth services under the emergency declaration:

Under the waiver, the HHS Office for Civil Rights will exercise enforcement discretion and waive penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients in good faith through everyday communications technologies, such as FaceTime or Skype, during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.

©2023 Carlton Fields, P.A. Carlton Fields practices law in California through Carlton Fields, LLP. Carlton Fields publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information and educational purposes only, and should not be relied on as if it were advice about a particular fact situation. The distribution of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Carlton Fields. This publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our Contact Us form via the link below. The views set forth herein are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the firm. This site may contain hypertext links to information created and maintained by other entities. Carlton Fields does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this outside information, nor is the inclusion of a link to be intended as an endorsement of those outside sites.

Subscribe to Publications


The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.