We have all been subject to routine medical appointments and for the lucky few, this is all that’s needed. However, for more than 130 million Americans suffering from chronic conditions, this is not enough. Living with a chronic condition requires more than a routine check-up once a year and without proper services, becomes costly for patients, providers, and the government. An average of 85% of Federal healthcare dollars is allocated to the treatment of chronic conditions. This is why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes Chronic Care Management (CCM) and its education as:
“One of the critical components of primary care that contributes to better health and care for individuals, and holds promise for reducing overall health care costs.”
With more than 69% of Medicare patients living with two or more chronic conditions, the need for chronic care services is evident.
In light of this, in January 2015, CMS began reimbursing practices for 20 minutes of non-face-to-face care. This is eligible for patients with two or more chronic conditions through the CPT code 99490. Their Healthcare Professional Toolkit provides detailed information on Chronic Care Management and its various codes. It also includes:
Additionally, a study published in November 2017 by a third-party analyst has tracked the financial impact of CCM on Medicare expenditure. A brief chart below summarizes the findings but the complete study can be found here. The initial findings are compelling – to say the least.
At a glance, providing Chronic Care services in-house requires a lot of time and is resource-intensive. This explains why many practices are outsourcing CCM services to companies such as Wellbox. Their solutions allow practices to provide their patients’ personalized care and services.
This CCM initiative helps chronic patients take charge of their health, allows physicians to bill for the chronic care they have always provided and ultimately reduces healthcare costs. With all parties benefitting from such services, we can clearly see why CMS is pushing for Chronic Care Management and its education.