Clinical social workers can now receive Medicare reimbursement for psychotherapy services provided via audio-only devices (such as landlines) during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced these and other temporary rule changes and waivers on April 30 to increase access to healthcare and mental health services for the millions of older adults who due to the pandemic cannot safely receive services in-person. NASW has been advocating vigorously for further expansion of telehealth flexibility to include audio-only devices. Millions of Medicare beneficiaries, especially those in rural areas and those who have low incomes, do not have smart phones and/or reliable access to the internet. Some, due to their health or mental health conditions, are not able to use video chat apps.
See further details and codes under Telehealth Visits at NASW’s COVID-19 Medicare Telehealth page.