Update: Immediately prior to the publication of this article, CMS released updated information regarding e-visits and telehealth for therapy providers in private practice. We are seeking clarification regarding some aspects of telehealth and will share what we know, once we know it. However, e-visits are available now for physical therapists to provide and should be considered as an option for communicating with patients.
CMS is now allowing physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists to perform e-visits, a limited form of telehealth, as a way to connect with and manage care for existing Medicare patients during the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about providing e-visits, including how to leverage MedBridge Telehealth Virtual Visits in order to do so.
How do I find out if my patient is eligible for e-visits?
- Medicare and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries can receive e-visits.
- For commercial payors, please check your payors’ policies.
- You can only bill for an e-visit for your existing patients.
- New patients will need to be seen in person before they can request an e-visit.
How do I let my existing Medicare patients know about e-visits?
- You can’t reach out to individual patients and solicit a visit.
- You can deliver an email campaign to your patients that informs them that e-visits are now available at your clinic through your patient portal.
Can my patients request an e-visit through my portal?
- Your patient must initiate contact through your organization’s own portal, the MedBridge Patient Portal, or another secured method.
- After the patient sends a message, you or your staff can connect with the patient and schedule the e-visit.
- If patients are calling in to cancel appointments due to an inability to come into the office in person, you can offer e-visits as an alternative.
How can I leverage MedBridge Telehealth Virtual Visits to conduct an e-visit?
- Obtain verbal consent from your patient at the beginning of each visit. You will also need to document that the patient consented to an e-visit.
- Only licensed PTs, OTs, or SLPs can conduct the visit. Assistant staff members are not permitted to do so by CMS.
- After your initial response to the patient, you have a seven-day window during which to communicate with the patient.
- After the seven-day window, your patient will need to request another e-visit.
- Log your call time in your daily note.
- Bill using the code that corresponds to your cumulative time for the seven days.
- Stay in compliance. We are both HIPAA and HITRUST certified, and will require a BAA agreement with your organization.
What services can I provide during an e-visit?
Please refer to guidance provided by CMS and APTA for more information on appropriate services during an e-visit.
What will I be paid for an e-visit?
Please refer to the physician fee schedule lookup tool from CMS.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from MedBridge, Inc., or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.