Overview of Federal COVID-19 Regulatory Changes Impacting Credentialing and Scope of Practice

Updated May 8, 2020  

Covid-19 Issue Brief Cvr

As part of its effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has relaxed rules related to credentialing and scope of practice in order to expand the medical workforce.

These are changes in Federal rules, thus waiver authority only applies to Federal requirements and the waivers do not apply to Illinois statutory or regulatory requirements for licensure or scope of practice.

Federal emergency waivers include
(new since April 27 update):

  • Waiving limitations on the types of clinical practitioners that can furnish Medicare telehealth services. Prior to this change, only doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certain others could deliver telehealth services. Now, other practitioners are able to provide telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists.
  • Waiving the requirements which specify the types of practitioners that may bill for their services when furnished as Medicare telehealth services from the “distant site.” The waiver of these requirements expands the types of health care professionals that can furnish distant site telehealth services to include all those that are eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services. This allows health care professionals who were previously ineligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others, to receive payment for Medicare telehealth services.

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