Previously, patients admitted in the middle of the night have had a higher mortality rate, according to the American Medical Association. Soon, however, this statistic may be a thing of the past; telenocturnists have begun volunteering for the less-desired weekend and nighttime shifts, and they’re hoping to lessen the disparity in outcomes while reducing the financial burden on hospitals. Read more
Last week, a New Jersey Senate committee unanimously approved a bill that would regulate the telemedicine industry. The proposed legislation compels payment parity, safeguards the prescribing of addictive medications, and calls for the State Board of Medical Examiners to determine the specific criteria for telemedicine regulation. Read more
This summer, Rhode Island became the 31st state to require payment parity for telemedicine services. The new law, the Rhode Island Telemedicine Coverage Act, requires commercial health plans to reimburse for telemedicine-provided services at the same rates at which they pay for in-person visits. Read more
Although telemedicine is a rapidly growing field, some physicians remain resistant—perhaps due to misconceptions about the technology. While we can’t help you overcome the inertia of trying something new, we can help you debunk the most common myths with the following telemedicine facts. Read more
In a move aimed at increasing reimbursement for telehealth services, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and American Medical Association (AMA) are working together to suggest new CPT codes to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) later this month. If accepted, the new codes would allow CMS to recognize and reimburse more telemedicine services. Read more
As we face a future filled with increasing health care needs and a predicted shortage of physicians, it becomes clear that the old paradigm of medicine—namely, time-consuming office visits—will no longer suffice. Newer technologies, such as telemedicine, have the ability to address these needs by offering high-quality, cost-effective, and time-efficient care—but only if we allow it.
Unfortunately, science and patient demands evolve more quickly than legislation, and our current structure is hindering a more widespread and effective use of telemedicine. Read more
Patients in rural areas and with limited transportation may welcome telemedicine, but what about the doctors?
It appears that physicians everywhere are also embracing this technology. A recent nationwide poll, conducted by QuantiaMD and American Well, reveals that 57 percent of primary care physicians are interested and willing to conduct telemedicine visits with their patients (1).
To better understand this response, let’s examine the context. As revealed by the survey, doctors are spending increasing time on non-reimbursable phone and email communications with patients. The average family doctor devotes nearly 4 hours per week on phone calls and emails, and each phone call alone costs roughly $20 of the physician’s time.
In this situation, it makes sense to replace non-reimbursable activities with billable telemedicine hours. Read more
“Is your cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. That is enough.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.
For an industry full of innovators, there’s a distinct lack of innovation in overcoming the reimbursement issue. I believe this is largely because we’ve trained ourselves to continue focusing on reimbursement, rather than discovering how to make the lack of reimbursement work for us or on creating a new model of telemedicine that makes reimbursement an afterthought.
If you believe telemedicine won’t expand until reimbursement is solved, why are any of us involved in Telemedicine? (I assume it’s to improve healthcare, which means we shouldn’t let reimbursement stop us.)
This is not to say that reimbursement is not impo Read more
I attended a webinar last week where the speaker, Jeff Robbins, Director of Neurodiagnostics and Telehealth at Tift Regional Medical Center, recounted the following (paraphrased) story:
Eight years ago Tift had purchased their first batch of telemedicine equipment. For the first year or so they mostly stared at it, with no idea how to go about using it.
They wondered whether they could be reimbursed for anything they used it for and whether they could figure out how to use it and wondered what it could do. They weren’t using their equipment. They weren’t using telemedicine.
Then Jeff said they decided to “put the patients first.” They purposefully forgot about reimbursement, coverage regulations, computer abilities of the doctors, or whether the possible uses fit into the business plan of the hospital. They focused on finding out, through actually doing it, if telemedicine could help their patients. When that happened…
All those things took care of themselves.
Or, as Jeff put Read more
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