Physicians and other practitioners who provided evaluation and management (E/M) services via telehealth during the first nine months of the COVID-19 public health emergency generally complied with Medicare requirements, according to a report released recently by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

The audit covered $1.4 billion in Medicare Part B payments for more than 19 million E/M telehealth services billed between March and November 2020 as part of the agency’s ongoing review of telehealth expansion and program integrity risk during the PHE. It found that providers complied with Medicare requirements for 105 of the 110 randomly sampled services. For the five sampled services that did not comply with documentation requirements, Medicare paid $446.

OIG said the report “does not have recommendations because providers generally met Medicare requirements when billing for E/M services provided via telehealth and unallowable payments we identified resulted primarily from clerical errors or the inability to access records.” 

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