AMGA and Physician Organizations Call for HHS to Support Audio-Only Telehealth Services

Alexandria, VA  In collaboration with medical groups and independent practice associations from across the country, AMGA has issued a letter urging Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to reduce regulatory burden on physician practices by supporting audio-only telehealth services. 

Clinicians have embraced the use of telemedicine during the COVID-19 outbreak, providing critical care for their patients while mitigating the spread of the disease. As stay-at-home orders were declared across the country, CMS has taken numerous steps to expand the use of telehealth to meet patient needs, including sweeping waivers and reimbursement changes in traditional Medicare. On April 10, 2020, the agency announced that diagnoses made during telehealth visits may now be submitted for risk adjustment purposes. 

AMGA and its members applaud CMS for providing necessary regulatory relief for physician practices and their patients. However, the agency’s requirement that telehealth services be provided via live, audiovisual telecommunications remains a significant barrier for patients and physicians during the pandemic. A major component of telehealth services are audio-based services, or care provided over the telephone, which remains a straightforward and preferable alternative for many patients and physicians.

“Too many Americans lack the technology or broadband service necessary to receive care through video-based modalities,” said Jerry Penso, M.D., M.B.A., president and chief executive officer of AMGA. “Recognizing this need, clinicians have continued to provide care for these populations during the pandemic, using only audio-based services, including landline phones. This care should is vital to many patients who are unable to access audiovisual technology.”

Unfortunately, under current CMS rules, any diagnosis made during an audio-only visit with a patient cannot be used for risk adjustment purposes. This restriction undermines both the financial stability of these physician practices and our patient care goals. 

AMGA and its members have called for CMS to clarify that audio-only visits can be counted for risk adjustment and care coordination purposes. This policy adjustment would support the needs of physician practices across the country as they continue to provide coordinated, affordable patient care during and after this global pandemic.

A copy of the letter is available on AMGA’s website.

Organizations submitting the letter include:


Colorado Permanente Medical Group 

Hawaii Permanente Medical Group 

Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group 

Northwest Permanente 

The Permanente Medical Group 

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group 

Southern California Permanente Medical Group 

Washington Permanente Medical Group 

Acclaim Physician Group, Inc. 

agilon health 

Arizona Community Physicians 

Austin Regional Clinic 

AtlantiCare Physician Group 

Atrius Health 

Benefits Health System 

Bryan Physician Network 

Catalyst Medical Group 

Cleveland Clinic 

Coastal Carolina Health Care, P.A. 

CommonSpirit Health 

Covenant Medical Group 

Crystal Run Healthcare 

DuPage Medical Group 

El Camino Hospital System 

Eventus WholeHealth 

Facey Medical Foundation 

Gould Medical Group 

Grace Medical Group 

Graves Gilbert Clinic 

Greater Newport Physicians IPA 

HealthCare Partners 

HealthCare Partners Nevada 


Heritage Medical Associates 

Hoag Medical Group 

HSHS Medical Group 

Inova Health System 

Intermountain Medical Group, Intermountain Healthcare 

Iowa Clinic 

Johns Hopkins Medicine 

Kadlec Clinics 

Kaweah Delta Medical Foundations 

Kettering Physician Network 

Lee Health 

Lehigh Valley Health Network 

Marshfield Clinic Health System 

Matthews-Vu Medical Group 

Maui Medical Group 

Maury Regional Medical Group 

Mayo Clinic 

MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society 

Medical Society of the District of Columbia 

MemorialCare Medical Center Foundation 

MemorialCare Medical Group 

Mercy Medical Group 

Methodist Medical Group 

Mission Heritage Medical Group 

North Mississippi Medical Clinics, Inc. 

North Shore Medical Group 

Northeast Georgia Physicians Group 

Oregon Medical Group 

Pacific Medical Centers 

Palo Alto Medical Foundation 

Parkview Physicians Group 

Pennsylvania State Medical Society (PAMED) 

The Portland Clinic 

Premier Family Physicians 

Prevea Health 

Providence Medical Institute 

Providence Medical Group 

Providence St. John's Medical Foundation 

Quincy Medical Group 

Revere Health in Utah 

Scripps Coastal Medical Group 

Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group 

Silicon Valley Medical Development, LLC 

SIMEDHealth, L.L.C. 

St. Joseph Health Medical Group 

St. Mary High Desert Medical Group 

St. Peter's Health 

St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group 

St. Jude Heritage Medical Group 

Summit Medical Group 

Sutter East Bay Medical Group 

Sutter Health 

Sutter Independent Physician Association 

Sutter Medical Group 

Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods 

Sutter North Medical Groups 

Sutter West Bay Medical Group 

Swedish Medical Group 

Union Medical Group 

USF Health 

Utica Park Clinic 

Valley Organized Physicians 

Vancouver Clinic 

Wellstar Medical Group 

Western Montana Clinic in Missoula, MT 

Western Washington Medical Group 

Wilmington Health



About AMGA
 AMGA is a trade association leading the transformation of health care in America. Representing multispecialty medical groups and integrated systems of care, we advocate, educate, innovate, and empower our members to deliver the next level of high performance health. AMGA is the national voice promoting awareness of our members’ recognized excellence in the delivery of coordinated, high-quality, high-value care. More than 175,000 physicians practice in our member organizations, delivering care to one in three Americans.


Media Contact:

Sharon Grace
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