09 Dec Telemedicine Billing Tips to Stay Compliant During Covid
If the last two years of the public health crisis have taught the healthcare industry anything, it is that change is inevitable. The parameters for a new normal are hardly even in place when a new variant or new mandate becomes another “new normal”.
And as a frontline industry, healthcare providers are in the trenches providing patient care while struggling to keep up with constantly evolving administrative and regulatory environments.
Will Telemedicine Visits Continue to be Covered by Insurers?
With the public health emergency showing no signs of slowing down, it’s likely that even more patient encounters will become eligible for reimbursement under expanding telehealth guidelines.
You may discover new opportunities to expand patient access to telemedicine services that weren’t initially covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurers.
And you’ll want your technology for both providers and your business office to be ready.
However, before you use telemedicine as part of a patient’s care plan, you’ll want to verify that their visit will be covered by their insurer. With almost weekly changes being made to coverage rules, you may see some telemedicine claims denied initially.
When you are in doubt, always call the insurer to verify their specific requirements for telehealth reimbursement.
Some smart questions to ask are:
• Is there a limit to how many telemedicine visits per patient will be covered?
• Does there have to be an established prior relationship with the patient?
• Are there any other requirements like specific distance from provider or consent in writing?
• Do you only cover synchronous live video encounters?
• Will you cover audio only encounters?
Ensure you have adequate resources to meet technology requirements for telehealth visits and that everyone involved in the patient experience can access patient records as required to perform essential job functions – whether they are working down the hall or from home.
Technology Concerns for Telemedicine
To be reimbursed for telemedicine visits, virtual check-ins, and remote patient monitoring, using the correct CPT code is essential. But you also must provide a quality encounter with the patient.
The clarity of communication during virtual patient care needs to be as close as possible to an inpatient experience.
Healthcare organizations will continue to see a huge transformation in the technology requirements to deliver high quality patient care regardless of where patient and provider are in relation to one another.
Smaller practices and clinics may struggle with new demands on IT departments or with creating and implementing policies and procedures that meet rapidly evolving regulations and requirements.
Telemedicine Delivered Seamlessly from Anywhere
Once you’ve established that as providers you can use telemedicine for necessary aspects of patient care, your organization needs to make sure you have the technology that gives providers access to electronic health records and other vital information – just like they would have if they were in the office.
This is where virtual desktops operating in the cloud with secured access from anywhere allow physicians and other healthcare providers to work quickly and confidently using familiar workflows and applications from any allowable device.
With cloud-based applications, your organization can deliver high-quality patient care in your facility or outside of it. And all necessary HIPAA compliance measures can be built into your virtual desktop platform.
And when providers can still meet rigorous standards of care wherever they are, there is less risk of financial loss from reduced reimbursements to healthcare organizations that are part of value-based payment arrangements.
Your Entire Organization Can Work from Home
It isn’t just frontline workers in your organization who need to be able to work from home. With the right virtual desktop applications, your entire workforce can be just as productive working remotely if necessary.
All administrative tasks can be performed remotely using the exact same desktop applications that are available on the machines in the office.
With secure data transmission, patient charts and accounts can be accessed and worked with in a completely secure environment. Plus, with cloud-based desktop applications, all aspects of compliance are always working in the background, monitoring in real time, creating audit trails, and protecting your sensitive information.
And because data is never stored on endpoint devices, you can rest easy knowing that critical electronic protected health information is just that: protected.
Keep Telemedicine Billing – and Everything Else – Compliant
Providing high quality patient care with an excellent patient experience could be easier than you think. With cloud-based applications that are as familiar at home as they are in the office, you’ll be able to perform the necessary tasks of your organization – from administrative to patient care and all the other day-to-day tasks no matter what the Covid crisis brings our way. Encrypted transmission of protected health information along with policies, procedures, and system protocols that grant access based on an employee’s need for access to perform their job make cloud-based solutions the smart option for forward thinking healthcare organizations.
If you need compliant, work from home solutions schedule a call with one of our highly trained healthcare IT experts who can design a system that incorporates your current workflows and applications into a seamless virtual desktop experience.