Did you know that telemedicine covers more than just the virtual consultation that most people think of when they hear “telehealth?”
Let’s break down telehealth services into four distinct areas:
What technology delivers telehealth services? Let’s look at basic descriptions of telemedicine and telehealth technological connections providers use to deliver these services:
Important: Asynchronous SFT technology is only permissible for Medicare in federal telemedicine demonstration programs in Alaska and/or Hawaii.
What specialties use telemedicine/telehealth? Let’s review some examples:
Who Can Provide Telehealth Services?
Is there a limit to who can use telehealth services? The short answer is no. Only the following providers, though, can receive reimbursement for delivering care using telehealth technology:
Nail Down Where Telehealth Services Can Take Place
Where can you render telehealth services? Telehealth services can take place in several different locations. An originating site is the location of the facility where the patient is located at the time the service is provided via a telecommunications system. Medicare beneficiaries, for example, are eligible for telehealth services only if they are from an originating site located in:
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) determine HPSAs, and the Census Bureau determines MSAs. You can access HRSA’s Medicare Telehealth Payment Eligibility Analyzer to verify a potential originating site’s eligibility for Medicare telehealth payment at https://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov.
Note: Each calendar year, the geographic eligibility of an originating site is established based on the status of the area as of December 31st of the prior calendar year. This eligibility continues for the full calendar year.
Originating sites authorized by law to deliver telehealth services include:
Caution: Independent renal dialysis facilities are not eligible as telehealth delivery sites.
Have You Tapped into the Benefits of Telemedicine & Telehealth
What are you waiting for? Here are a few reasons why you should seize this opportunity.
Accessibility and Convenience. Telehealth makes access to healthcare far easier for the homebound and elderly patient. Telehealth also provides a portal to services and healthcare professionals if patients are in a rural area and would not be able to access these services without telehealth.
Affordability and Time Saving. Telehealth saves both you and your patient time and money. By addressing a patient’s concern remotely, your physician is saving the patient travel costs and the time it would take to drive to his appointment. As the provider, you are also saving the expenses that go along with the cost to provide care, including costs for the physician to provide that care on-site, and associated operational costs. Long-term healthcare cost savings also result when patients receive reminders to take prescribed medications, which helps alleviate further medical problems from noncompliance.
Consultations with Specialists Across the Country. When a diagnosis is rare or difficult to treat, telehealth can help tremendously, by connecting patients with specialists from all over the country (and worldwide) without the need to travel directly to the specialist. Furthermore, facilities can also save money by sharing the services of a specialist, such as a radiologist.
Improvement in Patient Interactions. Your patients expect a personalized experience from their physicians more now than ever. Through telehealth, they can have direct access to your physicians on an as-needed basis, making them feel empowered and in charge of their health. Not unlike house calls of the past, telehealth technology is bridging the gap between the provider and the patient in many new and innovative ways.
Increased Quality of Care. The quality of a patient’s care greatly increases when the proper follow-up is maintained. Your physicians or office staff can monitor patients with a variety of devices. They can also check in with patients periodically to make sure they are following their treatment plans, ultimately leading to better long-range health outcomes.
If you’re not optimizing your telemedicine options, let us put you on the path to ethical reimbursement with The Telemedicine & Telehealth Handbook for Medical Practices. This indispensable resource covers billing, coding, denials, and everything between. Capitalize on advice and guidance regarding new telehealth options from CMS, POS codes, how to ace your E/M telemedicine services, when to use modifier 95 to capture synchronous telemedicine services, and so much more!