Telemedicine in Long Term Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Saisystems Health is officially advising its medical practice clients serving the Post-Acute space to increase the use of telemedicine wherever viable during this state of emergency.
As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization publicly characterized COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) a pandemic, and the President has declared a U.S. national emergency for the United States.
Post-acute practices traditionally have providers working in multiple facilities which now will put practitioners at risk for being exposed or carrying a virus from one facility to another. The White House is strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits.
To support the continuation of medical care, in a safer and effective manner, current restrictions on providing medical care via telemedicine have now been relaxed Telemedicine is now allowed for all Medicare, Medicare Advantage and some Medicaid beneficiaries throughout the United States during this public health emergency with some restrictions.
In support of this effort, Saisystems Health and Saisystems Digital have developed a new solution for our clients called, ‘SNFConnect’.
This Post-Acute Care Communication System enables secure, HIPAA compliant messaging, full integration with other products and most importantly live audio and video telemedicine visit capabilities while remaining HIPAA compliant.
For more information regarding implementing telemedicine contact your account manager or reach out to us at:
Below are highlights of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.
- Telemedicine visits expansion covers all medically necessary visits not just those related to the Coronavirus
The rural requirement has been waived and the act further allows patients to be eligible for telemedicine visits even when they are in their own home. This opens up telemedicine access to residents in Assisted Living Facilities.
- The entire (not just continental) United States is considered an emergency area covered under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020.
- The provisions of this law are in effect until September 30, 2020 unless extended by congress.
- The request MUST come from the facility, patient, family or caregiver.
- The patient MUST have a pre-existing relationship with the provider or someone in their group as evidenced by a claim within the last 3 years prior to the date of the telemedicine visit for services in the same TIN. Admissions and initial visits cannot be done via a telemedicine visit.
- The communication modality MUST be HIPAA compliant and can be held through application technology on smartphones using 2-way audio and video capabilities between the provider and the patient/facility.
- Telephony only visits are NOT considered telehealth or telemedicine visits.
- All medical necessity regulations apply to telemedicine visits.
- There are no changes to the medical coding guidelines for medically necessary care. More details on coding can be found below.
Following are the CPT codes for Telemedicine visits within the Skilled Nursing Facilities.
a) 99307-99310 with place of service 02 signifying that this is a telemedicine visit.
Following are the CPT codes for Telemedicine visits within the Assisted Living Facilities.
b) 99212-99215 with place of service 02 signifying that this is a telemedicine visit.
The following documents and shortcuts are provided below for your convenience.
CMS’s guidance for home health providers:
Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention Concerning Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Home Health Agencies (HHAs) as of March 10, 2020.
https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-18-hha.pdfCMS’s guidance for dialysis facilities providers:
Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in dialysis facilities as of March 10, 2020.
https://www.cms.gov/files/document/03092020-covid-19-faqs-508.pdfWorld Health Organization