Telemedicine is technically nothing new, but modern technology has made it more viable than ever before. Accountable care organizations or ACOs can now use email, smartphone apps, two-way video and other forms of wireless communication to reach patients they might otherwise be unable to treat. And yet, it does leave some questions for medical professionals. Aside from the fact that telemedicine is far from traditional medical treatment, there is also the question of how to handle billing.
While there are generally clear guidelines when it comes to billing patients in a clinical setting, no such guidelines exist with telemedicine. Many insurance companies pay for telemedicine services, but the billing rules can vary greatly from one payer to the next.
Despite the hassle that can come with it, telemedicine should be embraced by ACOs. It really does allow doctors to treat more patients, and it allows doctors to keep up with the rest of the world as it continues to embrace wireless technology. It is simply a matter of evolving to stay relevant, and the good news is that ACOs don’t have to handle every aspect of it by themselves. Medical billing companies such as Medical Healthcare Solutions can take care of all the billing details for these services while keeping ACOs up to date on the many new developments in telemedicine.
Choosing the Right Telemedicine Solutions
As anybody could probably guess, there are several different telemedicine solutions out there. Some will be ideal for your ACO, while others won’t work for you at all. There is no wrong way to offer telemedicine services, but you need to know what is best for your ACO. A medical billing company will be able to help you decide whether you should have video conferencing services for example, or make use of smartphone apps to communicate with patients. So don’t hesitate to ask for advice before deciding what kinds of services you wish to offer.
Medicare and Regulations
Medicare has very specific regulations when it comes to billing patients for telemedicine services. You will obviously need to know about these regulations and what billing codes you need to use for the services you offer. Once again, a medical billing company can help you to navigate through those regulations and take care of at least some of the responsibilities.
Knowing What States Recognize Telemedicine
As ubiquitous as telemedicine is, only 29 states and the District of Columbia allow payers to reimburse for telemedicine services. Your ACO can still offer these services if it isn’t in one of these states, but insurance companies won’t be able to cover them. There is new legislation being introduced on a regular basis to allow companies to reimburse for telemedicine, but that is the case currently in only about half of the country. A medical billing company can of course help you to determine which insurance companies are reimbursing for these services, but they can also keep you abreast of all the changes with telemedicine as they happen.
Keeping Up with New Technology
Finally, a medical billing company can help you keep up with communication technology. There are constantly new smartphone apps, more software advancements and upgrades in communication technology that can make telemedicine services easier than ever to deliver. They can also extend the reach of your ACO and allow you to gain new patients.
Just as billing companies can help you to determine what services will be best for your practice, they can also teach you and your staff about the latest technology and how to integrate these elements into your practice. In many ways, telemedicine represents the direction of modern medicine, so it is always important to learn all you can so that you can keep up with the rest of the world.