Update: A Medicare Boon for those with EDs

Until very recently, Medicare did not cover programs and services that used remote audio-only telephone contacts. Now the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare have expanded Medicare coverage to ensure that audio-only telephone services are covered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help many eating disorders patients who don’t have access to videoconferencing or who cannot use the existing technology. The decision was applauded by the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action (EDC), a Washington, DC-based federal eating disorders advocacy organization.  The EDC, in collaboration with 86 other organizations, had sent letters to Alex Azar, currently the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and to Seema Verma, Administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), advocating for Medicare coverage of audio telehealth services. The videoconferencing requirement was waived through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Previous regulations restricted access to telehealth services to technologies with videoconferencing capabilities.

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