Tobacco Cessation

Tobacco Cessation Telehealth Guide

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Each year, the United States spends more than $225 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults.

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Tobacco Counseling via Telehealth

Medicare Part B covers intermediate and intensive tobacco counseling for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Tobacco cessation counseling is a service that can be provided via telehealth.

Telehealth helps to improve access to healthcare for various populations, including communities that lack providers and patients with limited time or mobility. Telehealth can be used to improve access to tobacco cessation services.

Health care providers may offer tobacco counseling services via telehealth to patients located in their homes and outside of designated rural areas.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded the list of services that can be provided by telehealth. Some of these services will continue to be covered under Medicare through 12/31/2024.

  • Some types of telehealth services no longer require both audio and video, including tobacco counseling services— visits can be conducted over the telephone.
  • For details, see the List of Telehealth Services covered by Medicare.
Code Descriptor Can Audio-only interaction Meet the Requirements?
99406 Smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling visit; intermediate, greater than 3 minutes up to 10 minutes Yes
99407 Smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling visit; intensive, greater than 10 minutes Yes

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Types of Eligible Providers

Generally, any provider who is eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services is eligible to bill for telehealth during this period.

Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics can provide telehealth services to patients wherever they are located — including in their homes — through 12/31/2024. This includes coverage for certain audio-only telephone evaluation and management services.

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Providers must ensure all performed services are claimed and supported by complete documentation. Smoking cessation documentation should reflect:

  • Type or method of tobacco use (cigarettes, vaping device, chewing tobacco, etc.)
  • Amount of use (assess if the use qualifies as dependence)
  • Impact (personal, family, friends, health, social, financial, etc.)
  • Methods and skills for cessation
  • Resources available
  • Willingness to attempt to quit - If the patient is willing to attempt to quit, agreement on plan of approach
  • Implementation date
  • Method of follow-up
  • Documentation of exact time spent in face-to-face counseling with the patient

Visit the National Government Services Telehealth Services web page for more details.

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Revised 2/28/2024