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COVID-19 Response: CMS Issues FAQs to Assist Medicare Providers

COVID-19 Response: CMS Issues FAQs to Assist Medicare Providers

March 9, 2020

(from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
On March 6, CMS issued frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) for health care providers regarding Medicare payment for laboratory tests and other services related to the 2019-Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The agency is receiving questions from providers and created this document to be transparent and share answers to some of the most common questions.

Included in the FAQs is:

  • Guidance on how to bill and receive payment for testing patients at risk of COVID-19.
  • Details of Medicare’s payment policies for laboratory and diagnostic services, drugs, and vaccines under Medicare Part B, ambulance services, and other medical services delivered by physicians, hospitals, and facilities accepting government resources.
  • Information on billing for telehealth or in-home provider services. Since 2019, the Trump Administration has expanded flexibilities for CMS to pay providers for virtual check-ins and other digital communications with patients, which will make it easier for sick patients to stay home and lower the risk of spreading the infection.

This FAQ, and earlier CMS actions in response to the COVID-19 virus are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work CMS is doing in response to COVID-19, visit the Current Emergencies website.  

Below is an updated list of CMS’ actions to date:

March 5: Issued a second Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code for certain COVID-19 laboratory tests, in addition to three fact sheets about coverage and benefits for medical services related to COVID-19 for CMS programs 
March 4: Issued a call to action to health care providers nationwide and offered important guidance to help State Survey Agencies and Accrediting Organizations prioritize their inspections of healthcare
February 13: Issued a new HCPCS code for providers and laboratories to test patients for COVID-19  
February 6: Gave CLIA-certified laboratories information about how they can test for SARS-CoV-2
February 6: Issued a memo to help the nation’s health care facilities take critical steps to prepare for COVID-19 

Other Resources: 

COVID-19 Diagnotic Testing Waiver Resources - Various Insurance Providers
Steps Facilities can Take to Prepare for Coronavirus Disease 2019 -
Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities -
Strategies to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities -
Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators -
What doctors need to do if exposed -
Resource for physicians -

Coronavirus Disease 2019 websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) –
World Health Organization –

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Information Line
CDC Information Line 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY 888-232-6348
Hours: Monday–Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. CT (English and Spanish)
Extended hours for coronavirus disease 2019 questions only:  Saturday – Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. CT (English)

You can also submit a question to CDC Info via email -

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