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California Medicaid Expansion of Telehealth 

Traditional Telehealth - Overview

For enrolled Medi-Cal providers, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, mental health practitioners, substances use disorder practitioners, dentists, etc., the below policy applies.

Please note that this does not apply to FQHCs, RHCs, and Tribal 638 Clinics, for which the policy is described below.

  • Medi-Cal providers may bill DHCS or their managed care plan as appropriate for any covered Medi-Cal benefits or services using the appropriate procedure codes, i.e., Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) or Health Care Procedures Coding System (HCPS) codes, as defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) in the most current version of the billing manual that are appropriate to be provided via a telehealth modality. The CPT or HCPCS code(s) must be billed using Place of Service Code “02” as well as the appropriate telehealth modifier, as follows:
    • Synchronous, interactive audio and telecommunications systems: Modifier 95
    • Asynchronous store and forward telecommunications systems: Modifier GQ

Please note that DHCS will use the telehealth modifiers to identify that the Medi-Cal covered benefit or service was provided via a telehealth modality for tracking and reporting purposes relative to COVID-19. As a result, DHCS requests that all providers ensure the appropriate modifier is included on all submitted claims.

Synchronous Telehealth

Medi-Cal benefits or services, inclusive of things such as medical, mental health, substance use disorder, and more, provided via a synchronous telehealth modality (two-way interactive, audio-visual communication) must meet all of the below criteria. Please note the teledentistry policy is included separately below.

  • The treating health care practitioner at the distant site believes that the Medi-Cal benefits or services being provided are clinically appropriate based upon evidence-based medicine and/or best practices to be delivered via telehealth, subject to oral or written consent by the beneficiary. Below are some examples (not exhaustive) of benefits or services that would not be appropriate for a delivery via a telehealth modality:
    • Benefits or services that are performed in an operating room or while the patient is under anesthesia
    • Benefits or services that require direct visualization or instrumentation of bodily structures
    • Benefits or services that involve sampling of tissue or insertion/removal of medical devices
    • Benefits or services that otherwise require the in-person presence of the patient for any reason

The benefits or services delivered via telehealth meet the procedural definition and components of the CPT or HCPCS code(s), as defined by the AMA, associated with the Medi-Cal covered service or benefit, as well as any extended guidelines as described in this section of the Medi-Cal provider manual.

The benefits or services provided via telehealth satisfies all laws regarding confidentiality of health care information and a patient’s right to his or her medical information.

Asynchronous Store and Forward, inclusive of E-Consults
Medi-Cal benefits or services including, but not limited to, teleophthalmology, teledermatology, teledentistry, and teleradiology, may be provided via asynchronous store and forward, including E-Consults, when all of the following criteria are satisfied:

  • Health care practitioners must ensure that the documentation, typically images, sent via store and forward be specific to the patient’s condition and adequate for meeting the procedural definition and components of the CPT or HCPCS code that is billed.

For e-consults, the health care practitioner at the distant site (consultant) may use the following CPT code in conjunction with the modifier GQ:

  • CPT Code 99451: Interprofessional telephone/Internet/electronic health record assessment and management service provided by a consultative physician, including a written report to the patient's treating/requesting physician or other qualified health care professional, 5 minutes or more of medical consultative time

Originating Site and Transmission Fee

The originating site facility fee is reimbursable only to the originating site when billed with HCPCS code Q3014 (telehealth originating site facility fee). Transmission costs incurred from providing telehealth services via audio/video communication is reimbursable when billed with HCPCS code T1014 (telehealth transmission, per minute, professional services bill separately).

Restrictions for billing originating site fee and transmission costs are as follows:

  • HCPCS code Q3014 – Billable by originating site; once per day; same patient, same provider.
  • HCPCS code T1014 – Originating site and distant site; maximum of 90 minutes per day (1 unit = 1 minute), same patient, same provider
  • Originating site fee and transmission costs are not available for telephonic services.

If billing store and forward, including e-consult, providers at the originating site may bill the originating site fee with HCPCS code Q3014, but may not bill for the transmission fee. Please note, the originating site and transmission fee restrictions are not applicable for FQHCs, RHCs or Tribal 638 clinics.

Other Virtual/Telephonic Communication

For enrolled Medi-Cal providers, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, mental health practitioners, substances use disorder practitioners, dentists, etc., the below policy applies.

Virtual/telephonic communication includes a brief communication with another practitioner or with a patient, who in the case of COVID-19, cannot or should not be physically present (face-to-face).

Medi-Cal providers may be reimbursed using the below Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes G2010 and G2012 for brief virtual communications.

HCPCS code G2010: Remote evaluation of recorded video and/or images submitted by an established patient (e.g., store and forward), including interpretation with follow-up with the patient within 24 hours, not originating from a related evaluation and management (E/M) service provided within the previous 7 days nor leading to an E/M service or procedure within the next 24 hours or soonest available appointment.

  • Medi-Cal Fee-For-Service (FFS) Rate: $10.87

HCPCS code G2012: Brief communication technology-based service, e.g., virtual check-in, by a physician or other qualified health care professional who can report evaluation and management services, provided to an established patient, not originating from a related E/M service provided within the previous 7 days nor leading to an E/M service or procedure within the next 24 hours or soonest available appointment; 5-10 minutes of medical discussion. G2012 can be billed when the virtual communication occurred via a telephone call.

  • Medi-Cal FFS Rate: $12.48


COVID-19 Guidance for Telehealth and Virtual/Telephonic Communications

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