How to Launch a Successful Telehealth Program for DC Metro Area Medical Practices

By October 3, 2017Telemedicine

Telemedicine is all about convenience for any patient but it’s also a powerful tool that transforms patient engagement, while increasing revenue for an independent practice. There are a number of factors to consider when developing a telemedicine program.  Luckily, at MSNVA, we have narrowed down the key ingredients that will help physicians launch a successful telemedicine program with minimum risk.

For example, many of our network physicians and their support staff have brought up the fact that some patients don’t like to schedule follow-up visits to discuss diagnostics and would rather just get a telephone call from their physician.  The main reasons for this are inconvenience of taking time off again, driving time, and cost, which leave the practices out of that revenue.  With DoctorsTelemed, the front-end staff can simply schedule patients for follow-up visits at the time of the first appointment and even collect the co-payment for that future visit in advance.

For primary care physicians with a heavy patient load of Medicare subscribers, the opportunity to provide patients with chronic care management programs while increasing revenue is almost too easy.  Practices should focus on at least two chronic conditions like Diabetes and High Blood Pressure, identify the patients and offer to enroll them in a program using DoctorsTelemed.  Schedule your patients monthly for monthly 20-minute sessions for up to 12 months, the system will automatically bill Medicare for the appropriate codes 99487, 99489 or 99490, which reimburses at an average rate of $40 – $45/session or $480 – $540/patient/year depending on the area where physicians practice.

Another key benefit is keeping specialist consultations in-house, thereby giving patients real-time access to specialty care while retaining more revenue.  Some DoctorsTelemed providers are already implementing this model, by assigning one exam room for the exclusive use of telemedicine.  This model works well in primary care settings and for specialists who do surgeries and need to have pre-operation physical clearance for their patients.

Under Medicare billing rules, for example, the consulting practitioner can bill for the level of service provided.  Physicians/practitioners submit the appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) procedure code for covered professional telehealth services along with the ‘GT’ modifier (‘via interactive audio and video telecommunications system’). By coding and billing the GT modifier with a covered telehealth procedure code, the distant site physician/practitioner certifies that the beneficiary was present at an eligible originating site when the telemedicine service was provided. To claim the facility payment, physicians/practitioners bill Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code ‘Q3014, telehealth originating site facility fee,’ with the short description ‘telehealth facility fee.’

Claudia Téllez

Author Claudia Téllez

Executive Director, Health Care Futurist

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