If you have Medicare, are you interested in Telehealth or an e-visit?

 

Telehealth:

  • Telehealth is a physical therapy evaluation and/or treatment that is performed using a HIPAA compliant video conferencing platform.  Each Telehealth visit is run just like a visit that you would have in the office. Your physical therapist will want to hear about your symptoms, have a clear understanding of your medical history, they will evaluate any changes in your physical ability and then they will provide treatment which could include therapeutic exercises (an exercise program prescribed just for your symptoms at a level best recommended for you - they will observe your technique performing the exercise, improve upon that technique and if indicated, demonstrate the proper performance of the exercise), self-care instruction (which could include self or family member provided manual therapy, postural recommendations, body mechanic recommendations, handouts your therapist will email to you, behavioral changes, graded motor imagery, splint or orthotic recommendations or taping recommendations you can implement at home).  Your therapist will then establish a plan of care, discuss that plan with you and schedule follow-ups as indicated, exactly the same as if you were seeing your therapist in person

 

  • As a patient with Medicare, you will have to pay cash for a Telehealth visit.  Medicare will not cover the cost of Telehealth so you cannot submit the bill to them at a later date and neither can your therapist

  • It will cost $50.00 for a Telehealth initial evaluation (as long as the total time is 60 minutes or less - if longer, you will be charged $1/minute). 

  • You will not need a Telehealth initial evaluation if you have been evaluated and treated in the office within three months of your first Telehealth or e-visit session.

  • It will cost $1/minute for every follow-up Telehealth treatment.  Many Telehealth visits range from 15 to 30 minutes.

  • Patients might benefit from having a family member assist them for the first or subsequent visits. Do you have a family member you would want to sit in on the appointment with you?  Will they be with you at your evaluation? At your follow-up visits? Please let your therapist know so that they can document their attendance and come up with ways, in advance, that this person could assist you in your telehealth physical therapy session

  • Are you ready for video conferencing?

    • Be ready for technical difficulties - the therapist’s internet provider may be inundated with use, your internet provider may be busy, the therapist’s modem may need to be updated, your modem may need to be updated, the therapist’s laptop may not be new, your laptop may not be new.  Be patient, we are working on making certain we are ready on our end. Please assume that all of us have the very best of intentions.

    • Have a plan B.  If your telehealth system does not work, specifically during this COVID 19 crises, you can switch to Skype or Facetime, however, please understand it isn’t HIPAA compliant.  You can reschedule and attempt to troubleshoot or solve the problem.  

    • Do you plan to use a computer or laptop?  Does that computer or laptop have a front-facing camera?

    • Do you plan to use a phone or a tablet?

    • Do you have a private/quiet space?

    • Is your WIFI fast enough?

    • Do you have room to move?

  • If you are a current client or if after you have had your initial evaluation via Telehealth (for which you have paid in cash), you can request an E-Visit from your physical therapist.  

    • During this COVID-19 crisis, Medicare is covering the following items as E-Visits: 1) conversations we have with your physician on your behalf, 2) brief phone conversations with you that involve specific assessments based on your reported symptoms and recommendations on treatments you can implement on your own, 3) email conversations we have with you, 4) recommended links we send you via email and/or 4) quick video chats only to improve upon what was already taught to you during your recent treatment session or evaluation with your therapist or during your recent telehealth sessions.  This is typically around 25 minutes or less of cumulative time over the course of 7 days.  

    • For example, maybe the therapist spends 5 minutes on a phone call with you on Monday.  Then on Thursday, your therapist spends 6 minutes with you on a video chat. They then contact your physician via email to discuss your case on Friday.  This email takes 5 minutes for them to write. They will bill Medicare for 16 minutes of time.

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a policy change on March 17, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. The 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. This includes e-visits with your physical therapist.

As always, insurance benefits will vary plan by plan, but this policy change by Medicare is an important step. You can read more about this policy change: 

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet

© 2018 by Her Health Physical Therapy. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon