As we work our way up the COVID-19 curve and expect confirmed cases to rapidly increase, healthcare providers are looking at telehealth in an effort to keep patients in their homes.
In an attempt to keep you informed, we wanted to provide some basic information on Medicare changes regarding telehealth. For up-to-the-minute updates, visit the Center for Connected Health Policy documents for all state-related actions around COVID-19.
Here are some of the Medicare changes and what they mean:
‘Originating Site’ Restrictions Lifted
An originating site is the location where a Medicare patient receives telehealth services. With some exceptions, prior to the waiver, Medicare eligible originating sites were defined as the following facilities:
- Provider offices
- Critical access hospitals
- Rural health clinics
- Federally qualified health centers
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Community mental health centers
- Hospital-based or critical access hospital-based renal dialysis center
Under the new emergency declaration and waivers, a patient’s home (or any location) is now an eligible originating site.
‘Place of Service’ Coding
The claim’s Place of Service should be billed as 02-Telehealth to indicate that the billed service is a professional telehealth visit from a distant site.
‘Established Relationship’ Requirement Removed
Previously, an established patient/provider relationship was required when billing for telehealth. Under the new emergency declaration and waivers, an established patient/provider relationship is no longer required.
Tools to Start Telehealth Services
You should first check with your EHR/PM system to determine if they have an integrated telehealth solution.
If they don’t have a recommended solution or you want to start immediately, Zoom is a HIPAA-compliant platform that providers can begin using TODAY to see patients via telehealth.
How to Engage Patients
The concept of telehealth is relatively new to patients, so it’s important to have a strong patient engagement strategy to create awareness and adoption of your services. This strategy should include mass patient broadcasting, patient portal communications, online scheduling, etc.
By implementing telehealth and strong patient engagement, your facility can find opportunities to avoid cancellations and bring in additional revenue while complying with stay-at-home/social distancing orders.
We hope you are all well and stay well.
Ken Magness is a focused healthcare professional with more than a decade of experience in helping clients understand the true value of automation in the revenue cycle management process. As the Strategic Initiatives Leader at Quadax, Ken and his team are passionate about connecting with healthcare providers to help them create and leverage the appropriate technology solutions to optimize the revenue cycle process and improve the experience of their patients and staff.