CMS telehealth billing 3-17-20

As we look more into the news from CMS today, we will share here, as well as via our webpage at
Here are two important components for telehealth billing as of today’s announcement:
  • The following codes (as well as many more) are allowed for telehealth visits
    • 99201 Office/outpatient visit new
      99202 Office/outpatient visit new
      99203 Office/outpatient visit new
      99204 Office/outpatient visit new
      99205 Office/outpatient visit new
      99211 Office/outpatient visit est
      99212 Office/outpatient visit est
      99213 Office/outpatient visit est
      99214 Office/outpatient visit est
      99215 Office/outpatient visit est
  • I don’t know yet whether the pre-2018 practice of using a GT or GQ modifier will be appropriate, or if indicating a Place of Service of 02 will be a better option. There is a very good document from the American Academy of Pediatrics that indicates when modifier or POS is most appropriate, which by applying todays exemptions seems to make things a little easier to understand.
  • Zoom video conferencing has a free platform for 1:1 visits, however for larger scale team use we would suggest one of the paid versions.

CMS Telehealth updates 3-17-20

CMS has just announced the lifting of some key restrictions on telehealth, including the ability for patients and providers to use “telephones that have audio and video capabilities”.  This means that in addition to quality video software like Zoom, regular old iPhone Facebook video calls qualify for telehealth use!

We are currently helping many of our clients get setup with remote work tools, and will add telehealth tools to the list of solutions we can help implement.
Please call us at 916-538-4588 or email if you would like to look at solutions!
Ben Hardt
Owner, Vandelay Industries
From MGMA earlier today:


March 17, 2020

COVID-19 regulatory alert: Medicare telehealth restrictions lifted

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance on Secretary Azar’s waiver authority that broadens access to Medicare telehealth services. Effective March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, CMS will:

  • Waive geographic restrictions, meaning patients can receive telehealth services in non-rural areas;
  • Waive originating site restrictions, meaning patients can receive telehealth services in their home;
  • Allow use of telephones that have audio and video capabilities; 
  • Allow reimbursement for any telehealth covered code, even if unrelated to COVID-19 diagnosis, screening, or treatment; and
  • Not enforce the established relationship requirement that a patient see a provider within the last three years.

The Medicare telemedicine healthcare provider fact sheet can be found here. The Medicare FAQ on these telehealth waivers can be found here. The Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 notice can be found here.

This announcement follows MGMA efforts to encourage CMS to expeditiously expand telehealth coverage in response to the public health emergency. 

Visit the MGMA COVID-19 Action Center for the latest developments impacting medical practices.


Contact MGMA Government Affairs by emailing or calling 202.293.3450, 877.275.6462 toll-free


 Vandelay Industries Newsletter – August 14, 2019

Ben It’s a crazy week.  Back to school time.  End of summer.  Fourth quarter closing in!

Gamification?  Whats that?

Level up your health!!

There are a million apps that try to gamify portions of your life.  Healthcare is far from immune.  Here are some ideas folks are kicking around.  The intersting part of this is that these companies already KNOW how to get  your attention.   When they shift focus to  health, things are going to happen…

Back to School!

Holy cow, what a racket!

I can’t believe how much time, money, and effort is necessary to get two kids ready to go back to school!

I should have bought stock in Sharpie!  My daughter needs to have two normal, one fine, and one thick.  Of course they are only sold in four packs of anything.  Which reminded my wife of this great scene from Father of the Bride.

A New Healthcare Consumer Experience

This makes too much sense.  Never going to work.

In this article there is a line I find particularly interesting.

“Dybbs’ job is to help employers and employees better understand, navigate, and pay for healthcare by improving the UX/UI portion of their journey.”

Modern applications that will FAIL  if they don’t provide a quality user experience are a too long overlooked component of healthcare.

Thanks Debbie!!

This was shared by a client.  

The hacks are real.  This was not one of our clients, or even a Sacramento practice, but I understand Sutter is using  this as an example of  bad things happening to good people.  These hacks are real folks.  It’s  getting worse.  We are working every day to find new ways to prevent and recover.


 Vandelay Industries Newsletter – August 7, 2019

Ben, in this latest installment, we learn more about our future digital overlords, a local agency looking for a CFO, my  doorbell, and Hackers in the French Quarter.  Enjoy!

As if I need more proof

This time a triple serving of AAA in healthcare

Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet make news daily.  Here’s a dose:

Apple is hiring heavily in their healthcare department.

The opposite of Amazon making a move, their Alexa program manager leaving for a healthcare startup.  But maybe it’s just an instance of early recon and they’ll be acquiring?  

And finally, Google AI believes it can detect Liver failure a full 48 hours sooner than traditional methods. 

What commonplace healthcare practices do we use today that will be laughably ancient in just a few short years?

I bought a Nest Hello!

It’s a doorbell with a camera and  speaker

Why do you care?  Because it’s one piece of a connected home.  Alexa, Google/Nest, SimpiSafe, Apple, FitBit, and a myriad of other manufacturers are vying to get their devices in your home.  I’ve succumbed on a couple fronts, because the convenience is just  fantastic!  Will you?  Once they have significant market share, the realities of a connected home health environment will become a no brainer.  Take your pills this morning?  What did you have for breakfast?   Did you workout?  What’s your blood pressure?  How’s your blood sugar?  It’s not far off…

CPCA is hiring a CFO

Some local news!

The California Primary Care Association, an association formed, according to their site, to represent primary care physicians and patients, in particular those in under-served areas, is hiring a CFO.


Louisiana in another State of Emergency

But this one is not an Act of God 

I wonder, by the time it’s said and done, what the bill will be to address 100% of this cyber attack on the state of Louisana’s computer systems.  A state that has spent billions on replacing  infrastructure after Katrina, and now they could be compromised because of a hacker.  This is  becoming more and more common to see these HUGE breaches, and frankly it’s far more frightening to me than what the media actually pays attention to.  


 Vandelay Industries Newsletter – July 24, 2019

Dear Ben,

This is the first edition of the weekly newsletter we will be sending out.  The hope is to give you a couple of interesting tidbits related to technology in your industry, maybe a bit of a light hearted story here and there, and in general something you otherwise wouldn’t have known.  We absolutely respect your privacy and if you have received this newsletter and don’t wish  to  receive any additional, it’s as simple as un-subscribing!

Thanks for taking  a look, and hopefully you find something of  interest!

Ben Hardt, President, Vandelay Industries.

This Can’t Be Right!

FaceApp aging application questionable!

Security professionals have uncovered some less than ideal portions of the EULA (End User License Agreement) for the viral app “FaceApp”.  The app shows users what they might look like at different ages based on photos users upload to the FaceApp servers.  And therein lies the problem!  According to this article InfoSecurity Article

“To make FaceApp actually work, you have to give it permissions to access your photos – ALL of them. But it also gains access to Siri and Search….Oh, and it has access to refreshing in the background – so even when you are not using it, it is using you,” tweeted technology author Rob La Gesse, who warned users who have installed the app to delete it.”

Ouch.  One of the SUREST ways to avoid issues like this is to be wise about your use of technology, but have you ever actually READ one of those agreements?  You’d be actually old, instead of just looking old from the app by the time you finished.

Pertinent to…  Nothing!

Disneyland tracks guests.  SHOCKER!

I have a good friend that works at Disneyland, and she said it’s been surprisingly quiet after the major launch of the new Star Wars themed Galaxy’s Edge attraction earlier this summer.  I think everyone, including me, assumed Disneyland would be a madhouse after Galaxy’s Edge opened, but apparently that’s the problem!  Everyone expected madness and stayed away, and it’s actually a fantastic time to visit!  

In preparation for what they expected to be record attendance, and to keep things moving along inside the park and at the rides and attractions, Disney has some pretty cool tech they use to track guests.  Disneyland Tracking Tech.  I don’t know if I agree with the article’s author when he says 

“At a time when Facebook Inc., Google and myriad other technology companies are getting hammered over consumer privacy issues, Disney is running the happiest police state on earth.” 

I do agree that they are at least as good as those others about mining and using data.  But then how did they underestimate attendance so grossly???  Hmmm….

Concierge Healthcare

What would you choose?

In this article from The Hartford, we read a story about why concierge healthcare might be a great idea for some.  It costs more for patients, but there are times when it could be worth it.

My belief is that in a few short years, there will ONLY be concierge healthcare and public healthcare.  This is not a political position, but a business one.

Here’s the real question:  If concierge is going to be the norm, why not get a head start?  If you can be better as a healthcare provider now, and offer services and care that no one else does, when everyone else starts to, you’ll have a head start.

Not Surprising

Medicare overbilled by more than $30B 

Patients exaggerate.  Apparently so do Medicare billing groups, at least according to this article Overbilling.  Medicare has long delayed taking actions to actually recover overbilled revenue from the insurance companies.  This has resulted in a tax burden to the US taxpayer, not only as we pay for those overbilled amounts, but for the as yet ineffective attempts to recover them.  The losers in this battle aren’t insurance companies or the government, but taxpayers themselves.