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I'm a new patient. How can I complete my new patient paperwork before my appointment?
You can call us or have them sent to your phone via text or email. It's very simple!
Is Telehealth Consults Covered under my insurance plan and Does healthcare insurance companies reimburse for telehealth and telemedicine services?
A Telehealth consult can be very similar to an in-person office visit; however, every plan is different to some degree; However, in many cases, yes, telehealth and telemedicine services are reimbursed by insurance. However, there are different rules for each healthcare insurance provider.
Medicare, in general, pays for telemedicine service in rural locations.
All 50 state Medicaid programs and the District of Columbia reimburse for telehealth. But each state has different nuances that you should become familiar with before starting a telehealth program.
Commercial insurance company reimbursement for telehealth and telemedicine also vary by state. Some states have what are called 'parity' laws. A state may have a law for 'parity in coverage' or a law for 'parity in payment' or neither or both.
'Parity in coverage' means that the commercial insurance company is required by state law to cover healthcare services provided via telehealth and/or telemedicine as if the services were provided in person.
'Parity in payment' means that the commercial insurance company is required by state law to reimburse healthcare services provided via telehealth and/or telemedicine as if the services were provided in person.
For a comprehensive overview of telehealth reimbursement, check out the state specific reimbursement summaries in the Resources Section of this website, under Reimbursement.
In circumstances where telehealth isn’t covered by insurance, private pay is an option for patients who want to realize the benefits of telehealth, including saving on travel expenses they would normally spend to see a specialist.
Can providers prescribe medication during a telemedicine visit?
Yes. However, to prescribe controlled substances, the facility must be a DEA facility and/or the provider must be a DEA provider. More specific information for your state can be found here.
Pre COVID-19, the patient must have been an established patient who had been seen in-person in order to receive a prescription for a controlled substance during a telemedicine visit.
How long should a telemedicine visit take?
Schedule the same amount of time as in-person visits and adjust as necessary.
Telehealth vs Telemedicine
The terms 'Telehealth' and 'Telemedicine' are often used interchangeably. Each state in the United States has a slightly different definition for these terms, as you can see in the Center for Connected Health Policy's semi-annual State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies.
In essence, though, 'telehealth' is a broader term that includes not only telemedicine but is also used for any type of healthcare activity involving technology for preventative, educational, and health-related administrative activities.
According to HealtIT.gov This includes:
Telemedicine, on the other hand, refers to the actual clinical encounter for diagnosis and treatment between a patient and a healthcare provider, who are in different locations.
NOTE: It important to realize that telehealth and telemedicine ARE NOT services in and of themselves but are simply different delivery mechanisms for the same healthcare services that can be delivered in-person.
How does telehealth work?
A patient can have a telemedicine consultation at a local healthcare facility that offers telehealth services. There, the patient is connected to a specialist who is in a separate location via HIPAA compliant videoconferencing.
A nurse or other clinician is often on hand with the patient to conduct physical exam tasks (such as taking vital signs), as requested by the specialist on the other side of the videoconferencing screen. Cameras and other digital monitoring tools allow the specialist to see onscreen exactly what the nurse is seeing in person.
For example, during a dermatological exam, the specialist is able to zoom in and polarize a view of a skin concern. Aside from the technology, sessions are treated like in-person appointments.
What equipment do I need? Must you use video capabilities? Do you need a headset?
Every platform has its own capabilities and performs best on certain devices. However, synchronous (live), two-way, audio-visual communication is best practice when using telehealth as a delivery mechanism.
Our System works with all Internet accessible devices like cell phones, tablets and computers. Some devices like computers may require headsets, and headphones for smart devices like tablets and cell phones would provide a chance to hear better and communicate with your provider easier.