Coronavirus: Provider reimbursement available for self-isolation after testing

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CMS and CDC will pay physicians to counsel patients on the importance of self-isolating after a COVID-19 test.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced that they will pay physicians to counsel their patients who are tested for COVID-19 on the importance of self-isolation prior to the onset of symptoms.

According to a news release, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus being transmitted by both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals it is of chief importance to educate patients and inform them of the necessity of self-isolation. The spread of the virus can be reduced significantly by having patients isolate earlier while awaiting the results of their test or before they experience symptoms.

CDC data shows that if patients who are tested for the virus are separated from others and placed in quarantine transmission of the virus can be reduced up to 86 percent compared to a 40 percent decrease in viral transmission if the patient isolates after their symptoms arrive, the news release says.

The counseling should be given at the time of the patient’s COVID-19 testing and will include discussion of the immediate need for isolation before the results are available, the importance of informing their immediate household that they too should be tested, and a review of the COVID-19 signs and symptoms as well as services available to them to aid in the isolation, the release says.


Patients will also be counseled to, if their test comes back positive, to wear a mask and that they will be contacted by public health authorities and asked to provide information for contact tracing, according to the release.

Existing evaluation and management payment codes will be used by CMS too reimburse physicians who are eligible to bill CMS for counseling services no matter where a test is administered, the release says.

Additional information and resource links can be found here.