Telehealth is the use of telecommunications technologies to provide healthcare services to patients remotely. Telehealth has often been used to provide healthcare access to patients who were home-bound or lived in a Healthcare Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Now, telehealth services are being offered to those who are unable to see their providers in-office for a variety of reasons, including the need to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders, both the government and private insurance payers are changing their requirements for telehealth services. This includes the temporary relaxation of some rules to give more people access to virtual care. For example, some practices were unable to provide telehealth services due to requirements for technology. With those requirements relaxed, those practices are now able to offer telemedicine to patients.
It’s important to keep in mind that telehealth is currently a moving target. Rules from the federal government, as well as payers, are changing on a daily basis. And because the changing guidelines are opening up these services to more people, it’s a new process for many practices. That’s why Applied Medical Systems is here to help in any way we can as you implement telehealth in your own practice or organization.
Telehealth makes care more accessible to patients and allows providers to keep practicing during times when in-person appointments are not possible. When patients are unable to visit a medical office due to transportation issues, health problems, or safety concerns, telehealth services allow them to receive the care they need. For providers, telehealth services can help keep their revenue cycle going in times when in-person services like routine exams or non-emergent care are deemed non-essential.
What Telehealth Care Involves
Telehealth services may include telehealth visits, virtual check-ins, and e-visits.
Telehealth Medical Visits
A provider-patient encounter that includes services similar to those provided during an in-person visit. These services include getting a medical history and performing an examination. Providers may be able to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment in some cases.
A brief communication between a provider and an established patient via telephone or internet services. These check-ins are usually 5-10 minutes in length. To qualify as a check-in under CMS rules, this service cannot be related to a medical visit (in-person or via telehealth) within the last 7 days or lead to a medical visit within the next 24 hours.
Communication between providers and patients through an online patient portal.
Billing for Telehealth Services
Billing for telehealth services depends on proper coding just like in-person care. Coding for telehealth should adhere to the same rules as in-person visits to determine what code is billed. The level of service provided and the time spent with the patient are still key components in determining how to code and bill for telehealth services.
It’s important to keep in mind that telehealth is currently a moving target. Rules from the federal government, as well as payers, are changing on a daily basis. Staying up-to-date on those rules can be difficult for individuals to manage. That’s where Applied Medical Systems comes in. Our experienced billing team will work to ensure that you get proper reimbursement.
Outsourcing Medical Billing for Telehealth Services
Applied Medical Systems provides technology-driven medical billing services that can help your practice become more efficient and profitable. By staying up-to-date on guidelines and rules for compliance, you can avoid claim denials. The claims we submit are clean 95% of the time. And when denials do occur, we have a tried-and-true process that resolves them quickly.
To talk to an AMS team member about how our solutions & services can benefit your practice, call us at (919) 477-5152.