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October 2021 Medicare Education and COVID-19 Updates

Published on 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Medicare Educational Resources

MLN Booklet: Transitional Care Management Services Revised

This MLN Booklet (link) focuses on covered services, location, who may provide services, supervision, billing services, documenting services and service benefits specific to Transitional Care Management. With the most recent updates, the CMS has added codes health care professionals can bill concurrently with Transitional Care Management services and added language about auxiliary personnel providing services under supervision.

WPS GHA YouTube: CERT Errors – Transitional Care Management (TCM)

WPS has published a YouTube video (link) focused on two Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) errors on Transitional Care Management (TCM) services. The errors concern the patient record for the:

  • Medical decision-making complexity
  • Interactive contact
MLN Booklet: Medicare Mental Health (MLN1986542)

This MLN booklet (link) was updated this month and includes information on covered and non-covered services, eligible professionals, Medicare Advantage and Medicare drug plan coverage, and medical record documentation and coding guidance.

COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Booster Shots for Eligible Consumers

From late September to mid-October, there have been several updates related to COVID-19 booster shots, for example:

  • September 24, 2021: CMS to Pay for COVID-19 Booster Shots: (link)
  • FDA Bulletin Announcing Booster Shot Authorization: (link)
  • September 28, 2021: CDC Call: What Clinicians Need to Know About the Latest CDC Recommendations for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Booster Vaccination: (link)
  • October 7, 2021: CDC Guidance: Who is Eligible for a COVID-19 Booster Shot? (link)
  • October 20, 2021: FDA Takes Additional Actions on the Use of a Booster Dose: (link)
  • October 21, 2021: CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots: (link)
  • October 22, 2021: CMS Reminds Eligible Consumers They Have Coverage for COVID-19 Booster Shot as No Cost: (link)
  • October 26, 2021: CDC Clinician Outreach Call – What Clinician’s Need to Know About COVID-19 Booster Recommendations: (link)
September 30, 2021: OCR Issues Guidance on HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccinations, and the Workplace

HHS and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced their release of guidance (link) to help the public understand when the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to information about a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status. The “guidance addresses common workplace scenarios and answers questions about whether and how the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies.”

October 5, 2021: Getting Your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card

The CDC has updated their webpage Getting Your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (link). Of note, the “CDC does not maintain vaccination records or determine how vaccination records are used, and CDC does not provide the white CDC-labeled COVID-19 Vaccination Record card to people. These cards are distributed to vaccination providers by state health departments.” The CDC advises you to contact your state health departments if you have additional questions about your vaccination records. This webpage includes a link to help you find information about your state health department.

October 15, 2021: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Extended

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, renewed the Public Health Emergency (PHE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic (link). This declaration will last for the duration of the emergency or 90 days and may be extended again by the Secretary. Continuation of the PHE means that 1135 Blanket Waivers for health care providers will remain in place too (link).

Other Updates

September 30, 2021: Requirements Related to Surprise Billing; Part II

The CMS announced the issuance of an interim final rule with comment period to further implement the No Surprises Act (link). In addition to this second interim final rule, CMS launched new online information at In this Fact Sheet, CMS reminds you that the rules will take effect on January 1, 2022 and that “more information on how the rule impacts various types of health plans, providers, and organizations supporting payment dispute processes is described in a related fact sheet (link).

October 10, 2021: MLN Connects – Drugs & Biologics

CMS noted in the October 10th edition of MLN Connects (link) that they have published the third quarter 2021 HCPCS Application Summaries and Coding Decisions for Drugs and Biologics. Of the fourteen requests to establish a new HCPCS Level II code, eight new codes were established with an effective date of January 1, 2022.

Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.