Remote Therapeutic Monitoring, or RTM, is a great way to provide better care to your patients. It allows you to stay connected with your patients between visits, giving you more touchpoints that you can use to form a stronger clinical decision about their progress and stronger therapeutic relationship with the patient.
And while it’s a great patient experience, it has also been shown to benefit patients. Because of this, CMS has created new billing codes for RTM, so you can be reimbursed for the time you spend providing this treatment. In this video, we’ll dive deeper into how those billing codes work.
As we’ve previously discussed, RTM is a three step process - Enrollment, Engagement, and Treatment. The RTM billing codes correlate to these steps in the process.
Before we dive into each code, there’s something unique about these codes. You’re probably used to billing codes where you bill for services on the same day. You bill for an activity once you’ve performed the treatment for at least 8 minutes, since the codes can be billed once you’ve performed the activity for more than 50% of a 15 minute period.
The RTM codes are unique because instead of looking at a 15 minute period, you’re looking at a 30 day period. You’re still looking for more than 50% of the time period, so you’ll look to bill once 16 days of activity occur within a 30 day period.
Let’s look at how each code works.
- The first code is 98975 and it refers to the enrollment step. This reimburses you for the time you spend onboarding your patient, their family or caregiver to RTM, setting expectations and educating them about the program. Once you’ve done that and the patient has had access to their program for 16 days in a 30-day period, you can submit for reimbursement using 98975.
- The next two codes are 98976 and 98977, and they refer to your patient’s engagement. They work the same way, but 98976 is for monitoring respiratory status and 98977 is for monitoring musculoskeletal status. With either of those codes, you bill for these once your patient has recorded 16 days of activity within a 30 day period. An activity can be performing an exercise, answering a survey, or sending and receiving a message, amongst other things.
- The final codes are 98980 and 98981. These refer to the time you spend providing remote treatment to your patients. We’ll learn more about treatment later, but activities you might perform include messaging your patients, updating their program, or reviewing their activity.
- These codes vary from the other because they are billed once you’ve spent 20 minutes of time monitoring your patients in a calendar month. For the first 20 minutes, you bill 98980. For each additional 20 minutes, you can bill 98981.
- There is one other requirement - you need to perform at least one interactive communication with the patient in that calendar month, such as a phone call, video call, or face-to-face time not billed as part of your in-clinic time.
When you perform RTM using MedBridge, patient engagement data points that you’ll need for 98975 and 98977 will automatically be tracked, making it easy for you to identify and bill for patients who have met the thresholds for those codes. We’ll provide that data so you can use it in your billing documentation. And for 98980, MedBridge allows you to track any treatment activities you perform, so you also have all the information you need to bill for that code.
We’ll take a closer look at how to use the MedBridge platform for RTM in future videos. For more information, visit the MedBridge Help Center.