Meet the New Health Standards in Telemedicine, Same as the Old Standards of Care
Telemedicine offers incredible potential to enhance patient access by delivering convenient care that is faster and less expensive.
Patients are increasingly demanding the convenience of telemedicine and see no difference in quality. But still, many healthcare providers are confused about telemedicine standard of care guidelines as well as telemedicine reimbursement guidelines. However, the most important thing for providers to keep in mind is that the health standards in telemedicine have the same standard of care as traditional delivery systems.
Telemedicine is no longer viewed as an auxiliary option of care. Given the favorable regulatory changes, legislative tweeting to telemedicine reimbursement guidelines, and technological advances many healthcare professionals are embracing telemedicine services. In addition, patients do not see a difference in the quality of care — and neither should providers! Healthcare providers can naturally and strategically apply telemedicine standard of care guidelines into their health care delivery and treatment plans. For example, many providers are using telemedicine services to treat diabetes and improve patient outcomes. In fact, many providers are offering patient clinical consultations through video chat technology. Moreover, video consultations for follow-up care have become a popular option in rural areas where access to care is minimal.
Telemedicine Reimbursement Guidelines
Yet, the complex telemedicine reimbursement structure can create frustrating obstacles for providers interested in incorporating telemedicine programs. Making sense of how telemedicine billable codes works have become healthcare’s Gordian knot, impossible for providers to unravel or understand.
Luckily, most commercial insurance companies – Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare – cover telemedicine to some degree. Just be sure to check with patients’ insurers to determine if they cover your telemedicine services. And with respect to Medicaid, the law gives states and gives providers considerable flexibility. Providers can begin to bill Medicaid for telemedicine services today! Unfortunately, Medicare’s telemedicine reimbursement guidelines have many restrictions. But the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 enacted many major changes for telemedicine policy under Medicare. For instance, telemedicine service under Medicare will cover some home dialysis services and extended coverage for tele-stroke consultations to rural AND non-rural locations.
Overall, policy changes to telemedicine reimbursement guidelines offer enhanced quality of care and access to healthcare services. Furthermore, patient acceptance of these services suggests that telemedicine standard of care is on par with other delivery systems. Click here to learn more about how telemedicine is transforming and reinviting healthcare.