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Provider Coronavirus Information

The Department of Community Health (DCH) has received requests for additional clarification of the telehealth guidance released 3/17/20 and further clarified in a message dated 3/18/20. In response to requests for clarification of service delivery locations and the term “distant site locations” DCH is issuing additional guidance to clarify these outstanding questions.

Qualified Providers

Qualified providers permitted to furnish Medicaid-reimbursed telehealth services during the Public Health Emergency include physicians and certain non-physician providers such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse midwives. Other practitioners enrolled in Georgia Medicaid such as certified nurse anesthetists, licensed clinical social workers, clinical psychologists and therapists (PT, ST and OT) may also deliver services within their scope of practice, consistent with Medicaid reimbursement rules, and in the category of service in which they are enrolled.

Service Delivery Location: Originating Site

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act as signed into law by the President on March 6, 2020 allows states broad authority to waive limitations on settings where members are eligible to receive telehealth and where telehealth services can be delivered during the emergency. All members with access to video or telephone communication may receive services in their homes to reduce exposure to themselves and others. Under the emergency declaration and waivers, these services may be provided by professionals regardless of patient location. The services must meet established medical necessity criteria relevant to the procedure or treatment.

Service Delivery Location: Distant Site

Qualified providers deliver services from distant sites. During the COVID-19 state of emergency, providers may deliver medically necessary services in various settings including their homes or other settings in which the privacy and confidentiality of the member can be assured. Qualified providers should continue to follow all applicable licensure rules specific to their profession. Services delivered from distant sites will be billed using the provider billing address associated with the enrolled Medicaid practice or facility. Claims must be billed using the associated procedure code, GT modifier and place of service code 02 to indicate telehealth delivery.

Billing

Providers should reference the 3/18/20 banner message relating to COVID-19 and the Use ofTelehealth for additional requirements related to member consent and patient confidentiality. DCH will continue to review all categories of service, adding services and procedure codes that can be reimbursed through telehealth service delivery as identified. MMIS will be modified to include new codes following DCH review. The Department will post additional information as needed.

Verbal Consent

Consent to receive services must be provided verbally by the member and noted in the member’s file or medical record. Providers are not required to obtain a hard copy of the consent form as noted in the Telehealth Guidance manual.

If you have questions related to the waiver of originating or distant site requirements, please contact the DXC Technology Provider Contact Center at 1-800-766-4456 and/or your assigned Provider DXC Representative.

We are closely monitoring and following all guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as it is released to ensure we can quickly address and support the prevention, screening, and treatment of COVID-19. The following guidance can be used to bill for services related to COVID-19 testing, screening and treatment services. This guidance is in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and may be retired at a future date. For additional information and guidance on COVID-19 billing and coding, please visit the resource centers of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA)

COVID-19 Testing Services

  • Providers performing the COVID-19 test can bill us for testing services that occurred after February 4, 2020, using the following newly created HCPCS codes:
    • HCPCS U0001 - For CDC developed tests only - 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel.
    • HCPCS U0002 - For all other commercially available tests - 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel.
    • CPT 87635 - Effective March 13, 2020 and issued as “the industry standard for reporting of novel coronavirus tests across the nation’s health care system.”

Please note:  It is not yet clear if CMS will rescind the more general HCPCS Code U0002 for non-CDC laboratory tests that the Medicare claims processing system is scheduled to begin accepting starting April 1, 2020.

  • These codes should not be used for serologic tests that detect COVID-19 antibodies.
  • All member cost share (copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible amounts) will be waived across all products for any claim billed with the new COVID-19 testing codes.
  • We have configured our systems to apply $0 member cost share liability for those claims submitted utilizing these new COVID-19 testing codes.
  • In addition to cost share, authorization requirements will be waived for any claim that is received with these specified codes.
  • Providers billing with these codes will not be limited by provider type and can be both participating and non-participating.
  • We will temporarily waive requirements that out-of-state Medicare and Medicaid providers be licensed in the state where they are providing services when they are licensed in another state.

High-Throughput Technology Testing Services

  • Providers performing high production COVID-19 diagnostic testing via high-throughput technology can bill us for testing services that occurred after February 4, 2020, using the following newly created HCPCS codes:
    • HCPCS U0003 - Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), amplified probe technique, making use of high throughput technologies as described by CMS-2020-01-R.
    • Please note: U0003 should identify tests that would otherwise be identified by CPT code 87635 but for being performed with these high throughput technologies.
    • HCPCS U0004 -2019-nCoV Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19), any technique, multiple types or subtypes (includes all targets), non-CDC, making use of high throughput technologies as described by CMS-2020-01-R.
    • Please note: U0004 should identify tests that would otherwise be identified by U0002 but for being performed with these high throughput technologies.
  • Neither U0003 nor U0004 should be used for tests that detect COVID-19 antibodies.
  • We have configured our systems to apply $0 member cost share liability for those claims submitted utilizing these codes to indicate high production testing.
  • Providers billing with these codes will not be limited by provider type and can be both participating and non-participating.

COVID-19 Specimen Transfers

  • For specimen transfer related claims, the following codes can be used:
    • G2023 - Spec Clct for SARS-COV-2 COVID 19 ANY SPEC SRC
    • G2024 - SP CLCT SARS-COV2 COVID19 FRM SNF/LAB ANY SPEC
    • C9803 - Hospital outpatient clinic visit specimen collection for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), any specimen source. This is effective for services provided on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Providers billing with these codes will not be limited by provider type and can be both participating and non-participating.

COVID-19 Screening Services

  • All member cost share (copayment, coinsurance and/or deductible amounts) will be waived for COVID-19 screening visits and if billed alongside a COVID-19 testing code.
  • If no testing is performed, providers may still bill for COVID-19 screening visits for suspected contact using the following Z codes:
    • Z20.828 – Contact with a (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases
    • Z03.818 – Exposure to COVID-19 and the virus is ruled out after evaluation
  • This applies to services that occurred as of February 4, 2020.
  • Providers billing with these codes will not be limited by provider type.

COVID-19 Treatment Services

  • We will waive prior authorization requirements and member cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment for all members.
    • For dates of service from February 4, 2020 through March 31, 2020 providers should use the ICD-10 diagnosis code:
    • B97.29 – Confirmed Cases – other coronavirus as the cause of diseases classified elsewhere
  • For dates of service of April 1, 2020 and later, providers should use the ICD-10 diagnosis code:
    • U07.1 – 2019-nCov Confirmed by Lab Testing
  • As a reminder, only those services associated with screening and/or treatment for COVID-19 will be eligible for prior authorization and member liability waivers.  For screening or treatment not related to COVID-19 normal copayment, coinsurance, and deductibles will apply.

Reimbursement Rates for COVID-19 Services for All Provider Types

  • We are complying with the rates published by CMS for the following codes:
    • U0001 = $35.91
    • U0002 = $51.31
    • U0003 = $100.00
    • U0004 = $100.00
    • G2023 = $23.46
    • G2024 = $25.46
  • Commercial products will reimburse COVID-19 services in accordance with our negotiated commercial contract rates.
  • We will follow these CMS published rates except where state-specific Medicaid rate guidance should supersede.
  • Any additional rates will be determined by further CMS and/or state-specific guidance and communicated when available.

We are complying with the rates published on 3/12/20 by CMS:

  • U0001 = $35.91
  • U0002 = $51.31
  • Please note: Commercial products will reimburse COVID-19 testing services in accordance with our negotiated commercial contract rates.

Any additional rates will be determined by further CMS and/or state-specific guidance and communicated when available.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging illness.  Many details about this disease are still unknown, such as treatment options, how the virus works, and the total impact of the illness.  New information, obtained daily, will further inform the risk assessment, treatment options and next steps.  We always rely on our provider partners to ensure the health of our members, and we want you to be aware of the tools available to help you identify the virus and care for your patients during this time of heightened concern.

Guidance:

  • Know the warning signs of COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 have reported mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include fatigue, sputum production, and muscle aches.  Some individuals have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and nausea, prior to developing respiratory symptoms.  
  • However, be aware that infected individuals can be contagious before symptoms arise. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
  • Instruct symptomatic patients to wear a surgical or isolation mask and promptly place the patient in a private room with the door closed.
  • Health care personnel encountering symptomatic patients should follow contact precautions, airborne with N95 precautions, and wear eye protection and other personal protective equipment.
  • Refer to the CDC’s criteria for a patient under investigation for COVID-19.  Notify local and/or state health departments in the event of a patient under investigation for COVID-19.  Maintain a log of all health care personnel who provide care to a patient under investigation.
  • Monitor and manage ill and exposed healthcare personnel.
  • Safely triage and manage patients with respiratory illness, including COVID-19.  Explore alternatives to face-to-face triage and visits as possible, and manage mildly ill COVID-19 cases at home, if possible.  

Take Action:

  1. Be alert for patients who meet the criteria for persons under investigation and know how to coordinate laboratory testing.
  2. Review your infection prevention and control policies and CDC's recommendations  for healthcare facilities for COVID-19.
  3. Know how to report a potential COVID-19 case or exposure to facility infection control leads and public health officials.  Contact your local and/or state health department to notify necessary health officials in the event of a person under investigation for COVID-19.
  4. Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization for the most up-to-date recommendations about COVID-19, including signs and symptoms, diagnostic testing, and treatment information.
  5. Be familiar with the intended scope of available testing and recommendations from the FDA.    

This guidance is in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and may be retired at a future date.

Other Resources: