COVID-19 FAQ - Telehealth

April 16, 2020

What is telehealth?

We realize that many practices are altering their operations to reduce in-person contact where appropriate and some are starting to consider telemedicine and telehealth as alternatives to in-person care.  The U.S Department of Health and Human Services defines telehealth as:

"the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications."

Is telehealth HIPAA compliant?

Most if not all suppliers of medical telehealth apps include HIPAA-compliance into their solution as it is designed for healthcare delivery.  Per a recent change to guidance, Telehealth HIPAA penalties will not be pursued if it is used in good faith.

"Under this Notice, covered health care providers may use popular applications that allow for video chats, including Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype, to provide telehealth without risk that OCR might seek to impose a penalty for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules related to the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency."

We believe Netsmart's telehealth solution is a great option for all providers and we are waiving any up front setup fee in response to COVID-19. However, we understand that given you may already be familiar with the technologies listed above or other options that you want to make this transition as seamless as possible. If you are interesting in Netsmart's solution, reach out to sales@helper.com.

We have been working with Amwell (formerly American Well) for two years developing solutions for Netsmart software.  Amwell has been providing telemedicine for over a decade and currently powers solutions for over 150 million lives.

Will my insurance cover telehealth appointments?

CMS has broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.  Key takeaways:

- Effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to patients in broader circumstances.
- These visits are considered the same as in-person visits and are paid at the same rate as regular, in-person visits.
- Starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for professional services furnished to beneficiaries in all areas of the country in all settings.
- While they must generally travel to or be located in certain types of originating sites such as a physician’s office, skilled nursing facility or hospital for the visit, effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to beneficiaries in any healthcare facility and in their home.
- The Medicare coinsurance and deductible would generally apply to these services. However, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs.
- To the extent the 1135 waiver requires an established relationship, HHS will not conduct audits to ensure that such a prior relationship existed for claims submitted during this public health emergency.

To read more go to the CMS website here.

How do I learn more about getting started with telehealth?

On this page is a helpful video that shows how Netsmart's Telehealth solution as it is used at a full-scale healthcare facility.  Many of the concepts displayed in the video can be applied to private practices.  If you would like talk to us about purchasing our telehealth solution, please email myaccount@helper.com with Telehealth in the Subject Line or call 800-343-5737 (800-3HELPER) Option 2.

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