Physicians and other healthcare providers will be reimbursed for counseling patients about virus mitigation at the time of COVID-19 testing, federal health agencies announced Thursday.

“No matter where a test is administered,” qualified providers can use existing evaluation and management payment codes to request reimbursement, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Providers will be expected to impart the following messages, among others: 

  • The importance of self-isolation after the patient is tested and prior to the onset of symptoms.
  • The immediate need for isolation, even before results are available.
  • The importance of informing immediate household members that they, too, should be tested for COVID-19.
  • A review of COVID-19 signs and symptoms and services available to the patient to aid in isolating.
  • The need to wear a mask at all times.

There can be up to an 86% reduction in COVID-19 transmission when individuals who are tested are quarantined, according to the CDC. This is compared with a 40% decrease in viral transmission if the person isolates after symptoms arise, the agency said.

A counseling checklist and further resource links are available here.