Enabling Remote Care With mHealthThe spread of mHealth applications has made reaching for a smartphone to talk to a doctor an everyday experience. There is a growing library of smartphone and tablet applications that measure physiological conditions and send readings directly to clinics. Doctors can use consumer technologies such as digital tablets and webcams to meet with faraway patients and assess the signals that they previously could only evaluate through in-person encounters. The quiet revolution has benefited patients in rural communities most where specialized care would otherwise mean travel hundreds of miles. Even patients who do not have access at home can visit local clinics to connect with their specialists online.
Better Chronic Care Management With TelemedicinePatients that suffer from chronic illnesses, who would otherwise struggle to access to affordable medical care, have a better option and experiences with telemedicine. The Centers for Disease Control asserts that half of the adults in the US have at least one chronic condition and seventy percent of deaths are the result of chronic diseases. CMS is working to reduce the burdens on physicians when they deliver healthcare services remotely. The agency is extending the number of billable Medicare services and cutting the red tape that healthcare organizations face. Part of that change includes encouraging providers to use enabling technology such as electronic health records and telemedicine. Related: Healthcare App Development Trends to Watch in 2019
This New Billing Code Turns Telemedicine Into RevenueCMS now provides payment for chronic care management as part of primary care under CPT 99490. This code specifies the use of EHR and, without saying it outright, makes telemedicine a viable channel by which to deliver care within the rules and maximize the revenue that your organization can earn in any given period. CPT 99490 requires that providers deliver non-face-to-face care for a minimum of 20 minutes per patient per month. In return, they receive a $40 payment. Realistically, the only method to fulfill that requirement and deliver high-quality care is with telemedicine. The code has several additional criteria: Patients must have 24/7 access to their care management services, continuity with a designated practitioner, oversight of medication self-management, among others.
By promoting telemedicine in service to Medicare, CMS is reinforcing the adoption of it for everyone. Providing telemedicine services is one channel across which healthcare organizations can improve efficiency and reach a broader community of patients.
Billing Medicare under CPT 99490 could produce additional revenue of more than $250,000 for per physician each year.