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Following Congressman Tim Ryan’s Urging, Trump Administration Fixes Medicare Reimbursement Issue for Mental Health Providers

May 1, 2020
Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio – Following Congressman Tim Ryan’s (OH-13) urging, the Trump Administration announced today that they have fixed a critical Medicare reimbursement issue for mental health providers.

Under normal circumstances, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that therapists have a qualified supervisor physically present in the same office building where the service is delivered, which is not possible at a time when therapy is happening in separate homes conducted via teleconference. CMS also had significant restrictions on which telehealth services and audio-only therapy calls would qualify for full reimbursement.

“I’m proud that the Trump Administration heeded my calls and recognized the normal rules and regulations don’t address today’s new reality during a pandemic. Mental health care is more important now than ever, and we cannot allow social distancing and stay-at-home orders to stand in the way of Americans getting treatments they need. Thanks to telehealth and telephone therapy, these vital mental health services can continue, and I’m grateful that those services are again covered for Medicare recipients for the duration of this public health emergency,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. 

Today, CMS eased rules regarding coverage for behavioral health and patient education services. CMS is also increasing payments for telephone visits to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits. The payments are retroactive to March 1, 2020.

In an April 14th letter to Administrator Seema Verma of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Ryan called on the Administration to change these two rules that have negatively impacted the quality and quantity of mental health services provided to clients. Ryan’s full letter can be found here.