Will You Be Paid for Telehealth Services in 2021?

Ask almost any provider of an independent practice how they survived the pandemic, and chances are high that “telehealth” will be mentioned. In fact, it seems that the COVID crisis propelled the adoption of telehealth forward by at least five years.

In 2019, a Kareo study reported the adoption rate of telehealth at only 22%. One year later, that changed quickly as a survey conducted soon after the initial stay-at-home orders went into place in March showed that the rate of telehealth usage nearly doubled to 41%. This rate skyrocketed to 77% in a Kareo survey conducted in June 2020. By December 2020, a follow up survey showed that telehealth was up by 80%. It’s not overstating the case that telehealth technology helped save independent practices in 2020.

Telehealth has not only been adopted by practices, but embraced strongly by patients who have enjoyed the flexibility and convenience of telehealth appointments. Patients now expect healthcare providers to offer telehealth as an option and look down a bit on those providers who don’t.

It's important to note that the widespread use of telehealth wasn’t only the result of physicians wanting a safe way to provide care to their patients. It was also helped when the government loosened telehealth regulations and reimbursement requirements by payors. Waivers were granted during the public health emergency that allowed the use of traditionally non-compliant communications platforms, such as FaceTime and other consumer-type technologies.

Essential to the future of the small practice is recognizing that this relaxation of regulations and compliant platforms is rapidly ending. As a practice, you need to take steps to assure that you continue to offer telehealth and as equally as important, get paid for those services.

In a recent issue of Physician’s Practice, Kareo billing subject matter expert Terri Joy, and business consultant Aimee Heckman co-wrote an article entitled, “3 Things Practices Must do to be Assured They Get Paid for Telehealth in 2021.” The article describes the three most important steps you should take and delineates processes and considerations to be aware of to implement these steps in a timely way. Read the article here.

The article ends with this admonition: it’s critical that independent practices like yours stops considering telehealth as a fortunate stopgap and make sure that going forward, you are laying the groundwork to make telehealth a robust part of your care delivery - and your bottom line.
 

For a reliable and safe telehealth solution, check out what Kareo Telehealth has to offer. Visit us here.

About the Author

Cher Knebel is a Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Kareo and joined the company in 2019. She has been a content creator for more than two decades, specifically working...

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