Policy statement

For the purposes of this policy, Virtual Care services are Covered Services when:

  • Services are initiated by or at the request of a Member or authorized caregiver seeking access to a Provider from a Distant Site.
  • Verify members' benefits using the Availity Portal.
  • Service is delivered to a Member by a Provider acting within the scope of his or her license and in compliance with applicable state laws in the state(s) where the Member is physically located while seeking services in the state(s) where the Provider is physically located, if applicable. This requirement includes satisfaction of the elements of the Member-Provider relationship as determined by the relevant healthcare regulatory board and all applicable law.
  • The service replaces the need for an In-Person visit.
  • Providers are responsible for ensuring the security and privacy of information, including, but not limited to, HIPAA , community standards, and best practices for security and privacy, recording consent, Protected Health Information (PHI) storage and storage disclosure. Practice Guidelines for Live, On Demand Primary and Urgent Care. (2014, December). Last retrieved on December 13, 2017.
  • A permanent record of relevant evaluation, management, and follow-up instructions are maintained as part of the Member's medical record. The record must be available for review or audit by the Member's health plan at any time.
    • The record-keeping standards that apply to in-person visits also apply to virtual care visits.
  • Following the Virtual Care session, if the rendering Provider is not the Member's primary care provider (PCP), the rendering Provider should communicate a summary of the Virtual Care encounter to the Member's PCP using secure methods (e.g., email/fax, secure email, transmit to EMR), as well as to the Member, unless the Member has requested a limitation on such communication.
  • Billed services must be within the Provider's scope of license. Coverage for billed services will be determined by the Member Agreement.
  • The Provider is responsible for practicing within the scope of their license and determining the standards for safe and secure delivery of virtual care services, including location of the member and/or provider, and compliance with all applicable laws.
  • Please refer to your state licensing board to determine care guidelines when the provider and/or member are in different states, as these requirements vary by state, provider type, and service type. In most, if not all instances, the provider must be licensed in the state the member is physically located at the time of the visit.

Scenario 1 - Telehealth

Virtual Care via Synchronous Interaction received at an Originating Site where the Member is physically located and the location is not a Health Care Facility.

  • This use case falls within the definition of "Telehealth" under this policy.
  • Virtual Care is sought for low risk, low acuity needs.
  • The Member is present and able to participate. The Member's identity is authenticated and eligibility is verified.
  • If a Provider offering Virtual Care services under this scenario in his or her practice does not have an established provider-member relationship with a member seeking such services, steps should be taken to establish a provider-member relationship through a combination of audio and video communication and not audio-only communication. In all cases, the applicable community standard of care must be satisfied.
Evaluation and Management Codes (E&M)
Telephone assessment and management service by physicians or other qualified health care professionalsCurrent Procedural Terminology (CPT®) 99441-99443 (with GT modifier)
Online assessment and management services (using video, Internet) by physicians or other qualified health care professionalsCPT 99444 (with GT modifier)
Telephone assessment and management service by non-physician qualified health care professionalsCPT 98966-98968 (with GT modifier)
Online assessment and management services (using video, Internet) by non-physician qualified health care professionalsCPT 98969 (with GT modifier)

Follow up with member:

If this evaluation does not lead to a visit and does not occur within seven days of a prior related service by the billing practitioner, it may be billed as a standalone service.

HCPCS G2012 (with GT modifier)
Behavioral Health
Psychology services, initial assessmentCPT 90791 (with GT modifier)
Psychiatry services, mental health therapy and psychopharmacology initial assessmentCPT 90792 (with GT modifier)
Psychotherapy, 30 minutesCPT 90832 (with GT modifier)
Psychotherapy services, mental health therapy and psychopharmacology follow-up visitsCPT 90833 (with GT modifier)
Psychotherapy, 45 minutesCPT 90834 (with GT modifier)
Psychotherapy, 60 minutesCPT 90837 (with GT modifier)
Family psychotherapy with member presentCPT 90847 (with GT modifier)
Behavioral health follow-up visits - CPT 99441-99444 (with GT modifier) for Psychiatry - CPT 98966-98969 (with GT modifier) for Psychology
Palliative care
Advanced care planning, 30 minutesCPT 99497 (with GT modifier)
Advanced care planning, additional 30 minutesCPT 99498 (with GT modifier)

Preventive and Other Services

Preventive and similar services are eligible for reimbursement only as services specifically defined by CMS, our health plan's published policies and member benefits or applicable state and federal law as suitable for delivery via Virtual Care and as consistent with all other requirements of this policy.

Modifier GT must be appended to all codes when the service is conducted via interactive audio and/or video telecommunication systems.

Additional Information

The following services are not covered as services under this scenario:

  • E-mail; fax transmission; secure messaging
  • Installation or maintenance of any telecommunication devices or systems
  • Telemedicine Health Care Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Q3014 (telehealth originating site facility fee)
  • Home health monitoring
  • Reporting of test results only
  • Request for medication refill
  • Follow-up care that does not require shared medical decision making
  • Provider-to-provider interactions
  • Asynchronous or "Store and Forward" telecommunication (including transferring data from one site to another through the use of a scanning, camera or similar devices that record (stores) an image that is sent (forwarded) via telecommunication to another site for consultation).
  • Radiology interpretations. Claims should be billed with modifier 26.
  • Service covering monitoring the Member's clinical status.
  • "Health line" type services provided by nurses and other non-physician, non-nurse practitioner providers.
  • Triage to assess the appropriate place of service and/or appropriate provider type.
  • Administrative services including but not limited to, follow-up care that does not require shared medical decision making, or follow-up phone calls that do not replace what would have been a follow-up visit, scheduling, registration, updating billing information, reminders, requests for medication refills or referrals, pre-authorizations, prior authorizations, ordering of diagnostic studies, and medical history intake completed by the Member.

Subject to applicable state laws, the following services are generally not reimbursable Telehealth services under this scenario:

  • Medical/behavioral health evaluations that occur within seven (7) days after an In-Person evaluation and management service performed by the same Provider for the same condition, whether Provider-requested or unsolicited Member follow-up.
  • Medical/behavioral health evaluations occurring more than once within seven (7) days for the same episode of care and rendered by the same Provider.
  • Follow-up phone calls that do not replace what would have been a follow-up visit.
  • Any communications that are used to convey results of test(s).
Telemedicine Services

Providers at the Originating Site

HCPCS Q3014

If the originating site is a health care facility:

  • Billing on ANSI 837P, the charge must be submitted using HCPCS Q3014 with no modifier.
  • Billing on ANSI 837I, the charge must be submitted as an outpatient service with revenue code 0780 range with corresponding HCPCS Q3014 with no modifier.

Providers at the Distant Site must submit the appropriate HCPCS/CPT codes for the services rendered.

Modifier GT must be appended to all codes when the service is conducted via interactive audio and video telecommunication systems.

The following services are not Covered Services under this scenario:

  • Clinical Psychologists and clinical social workers cannot bill for psychiatric diagnostic interview examinations using medical services or evaluation and management codes.

Scenario 3 - Store and Forward Scenarios

Virtual Care received via Store and Forward Asynchronous Interaction. Please check Availity Portal or Customer Service for benefit coverage information.

Coverage of Store and Forward Services are limited to the services specifically contracted for in a Provider's contract with the Member's health plan.

Providers at the Distant Site must submit the appropriate HCPCS/CPT codes for the services rendered. Modifier GQ must be appended to all codes referenced in this scenario when the service is conducted via Asynchronous Interaction.

Reimbursement for Store and Forward Services is determined by the Member Agreement and Provider contract.

For the following Store and Forward scenarios, the Provider at the Distant Site should not have seen the member In-Person within 14 days. The consult must replace the need for an In-Person visit with the Provider at the Distant Site. If an In-Person visit with the Provider at the Distant Site occurs within 14 days from the Store and forward consult date of service, the consult is not considered to have replaced the need for an In-Person visit.

Provider-to-Provider e-Consultation scenario where both providers are at a health care facility

The Distant Site Provider should have access to the electronic medical record of the Member from the referring Provider.

In order to be reimbursed, the following criteria must be met:

  • Greater than 50% of the time must be devoted to medical consultative verbal/secure online discussion.
  • Member is aware that the consult occurred. This can be achieved through making the results of the consult available to the Member.

Referring or consulting provider at the distant site:

Consultation via Virtual Care includes counseling and/or coordination of care with other Providers or agencies are provided consistent with the nature of the problem(s) and/or family's needs.

CPT 99446 - 99449, 99451, 99452 (with GT/GQ modifier) for services by Providers at Distant Site.

If more than one telephone/internet contact is required to complete the consultation request (e.g., discussion of test results), the entirety of the service and the cumulative discussion and information review time should be reported with a single code.

Provider-to-Member scenario

Providers engaging with Member via Store and Forward Asynchronous Interaction.

  • CPT 98969 (with GQ modifier) for Other Qualified Health Care Professionals
  • CPT 99444 (with GQ modifier) for physicians
  • Provider must meet state requirements regarding whether a live visit with the Provider is required before engaging in subsequent, related Store and Forward services with that Provider. In all cases, the applicable community standard of care must be satisfied.
Remote evaluation and follow up with member
  • CPT 99091 (with GQ modifier)
  • HCPCS code G2010, (with GQ modifier)
  • If this evaluation does not lead to a visit and does not occur within seven days of a prior related service by the billing practitioner, it may be billed as a standalone service.

The following service is not a Covered Service under this scenario:

Home Health

Disclaimer

Your use of this Reimbursement Policy constitutes your agreement to be bound by and comply with the terms and conditions of the Reimbursement Policy Disclaimer.