If you are a healthcare provider, you may have noticed Telehealth playing an increasingly significant role during these unprecedented times. The spread of COVID-19 has caused providers and health organizations to turn to Telehealth and other mHealth options to effectively combat the spread of the virus.  As shelter at home orders are being implemented across the country, healthcare organizations are experiencing a massive loss in volume, staff capacity, and revenue. On top of managing their virus response, providers now have to determine different ways to maintain their volume, while properly planning to manage the likely influx of infected patients. 

Like many providers, you may be in a situation that necessitates developing a virtual presence to continue caring for your patients.

Recent changes

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent government mandates have eased restrictions and made it easier for organizations to receive reimbursement for providing Telehealth visits, regardless of the patient’s diagnosis or location. Some of the most recent changes include:

  • Adding more than 80 additional services to provide via Telehealth.
  • Allowing providers to evaluate patients via telephone and the use of previously prohibited technology such as FaceTime, Skype, Google hangouts video.
  • Billing Telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits.
  • Allowing physicians to supervise clinical staff using virtual technologies when deemed appropriate, instead of requiring in-person presence.
  • Expanding the coverage for Remote Patient Monitoring.

Next steps

Now more than ever might be the right time to implement Telehealth services in your practice. If you plan to move forward, be sure you consult an expert who can help with developing a strategy, evaluating technology, and implementing a sustainable program that will carry you through the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to provide value afterwards.

The new normal

Whether the changes in government regulations are temporary or permanent, the benefits of Telehealth will remain. Physicians will still have the need to leverage Telehealth to support their clinical initiatives post-COVID-19.

One thing we know for certain is that things are changing daily. Organizations are focused on their response to the pandemic, while continuing to give all patients the best quality of care possible. Navigating these changes can be challenging, and it is important that each organization understand how all of these changes apply to them and their specific patient population.

Josh Scales is a Manager in LBMC’s Healthcare Consulting group. He can be reached at joshua.scales@lbmc.com.

Have additional questions?  Check out Telehealth program FAQs here.