And it acknowledged the error of prior policies, saying that it realizes "the resources required to furnish chronic care management services to beneficiaries with multiple (that is, two or more) chronic conditions are not adequately reflected in the existing E/M codes."
While physician groups maintain that the doctors are doing this now anyway, and thank CMS for finally paying for it, perhaps a lot more is at stake. CMS is not just paying more, it also wants a more structured, systematic process within physicians' practices to make sure care coordination services are performed for these most complex patients. That's why they're now paving a way to pay for it.
CMS actually began paying physicians for non-face-to-face care in January 2013, but only for care coordination for patients transitioning from a hospital to a postdischarge setting or as spelled out in a few other limited pilot projects. "This [G-code] is much more significant in terms of the scope of the type of non-face-to-face services that they're going to be paying for," Erickson says.
But of course, the rule imposes a few caveats regarding how G-codes can be used.