Texas Medicaid, CHIP Changes Extended Into October
By David Doolittle


As requested by the Texas Medical Association, the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has extended some Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) flexibilities through Oct. 23. 

Many of the extensions, which TMA has sought throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,were set to expire tomorrow, July 31. 

The flexibilities “will minimize face-to-face interactions and ensure continuity of care for clients during the COVID-19 response,” Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said in a press release

Specifically, physicians can temporarily use telemedicine for Texas Health Steps (THSteps) medical checkups of children older than 24 months through Oct. 23, HHSC said. The guidance applies to both new and established patients, and is applicable to managed care and fee-for-service Medicaid.  

The extension also waives CHIP office visit copayments for all members for services provided from March 13, HHSC said. CHIP does not require copayments for telemedicine services regardless of the waiver. The member’s health plan will pay the full rate for the service, including what would have been paid by the member through cost-sharing. 

Medicaid also will continue to cover telephone (audio-only) telemedicine visits, which physicians must continue to bill using designated evaluation and management (E&M) CPT codes with the -95 modifier. Medicaid and Medicaid MCOs also will pay for certain behavioral services provided over the telephone.  

In addition, physicians’ and providers’ Medicaid revalidation due dates will be extended 30 calendar days to prevent disenrollment. You can view your revalidation status on the Provider Information Management System (PIMS). 

Changes to Medicaid put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic should be extended after the emergency period to ensure physicians can continue to provide care for Texas’ children and youth, TMA and several specialty societies said in a letter to HHSC in May. 

To help you understand all of the changes to telemedicine during the pandemic, TMA has published up-to-date information for each type of payer. 

Stay up to date with the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.



Last Updated On

July 30, 2020

Originally Published On

May 26, 2020

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Coronavirus | Medicaid | Telemedicine

David Doolittle


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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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