Telehealth

Navigating the Telehealth Terrain: Essential Rules and Regulations for Providers

Telehealth came into the limelight during the pandemic, providing a way for people to see a doctor and get medical assistance without having to leave their homes. The convenience of telehealth visits means it is still in demand by patients, as many look for ways to get better medical care without having to leave work early, take the kids out of school, or otherwise rearrange their schedules. For places that offer telehealth, though, there are a lot of rules and regulations that must be followed. 

Licensing Requirements for Telehealth Providers

Like with in-person facilities, the rules for offering telehealth require providers to hire physicians who have the proper licensing and credentials for the state. Often, telehealth providers operate in multiple states at one time, though. In these cases, providers must ensure the credentials held by their physicians are reciprocal. The physician must be able to work in any start where the patient is located to be able to help them during a telehealth visit. 

Pay Parity for Telehealth Visits

Paying for a telehealth visit shouldn’t be more expensive than an in-person visit, but that can happen when people are searching for a more convenient way to get medical care. Because of this, there are pay parity laws in place. These regulations dictate how much a patient pays to receive telehealth services compared to in-person medical visits and how much is covered by the insurance company. They can also regulate whether the company receives money from insurance to cover the cost or if they have to reimburse patients once the insurance is paid out. 

Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding refers to the way documents are translated into the codes used by insurance companies to determine the final cost of treatment. Today, there are regulations in place that cover how medical billing and coding are done for telehealth visits and how that relates to traditional in-person medical care. It is crucial to ensure all visits are coded properly to prevent issues in receiving reimbursements from the insurance company or overcharging patients who reach out for care. 

HIPPA and Telehealth Technology

As with everything in the healthcare industry, care must be taken to follow all HIPAA regulations. With telehealth, this can be a little more complex, as there could be other people in the room with the patient or issues with the technology used to provide care that could leave it open to hacking. Telehealth providers must understand the policies under HIPPA, how they impact telehealth visits, and how to prevent potential issues. 

Changes in Telehealth Laws

With how new telehealth is in the medical field, it’s no surprise that policies are changing regularly. It is important to take note of permanent and temporary changes to regulations regarding telehealth visits to ensure compliance at all times. Telehealth providers will want to make sure they are following the latest regulations to prevent fines and other potential punishments for non-compliance. 

Though telehealth services provide more patients with opportunities for medical treatment and care, they are still relatively new. There are regulations in place regarding how telehealth visits can work, but these regulations can change over time. Providers will want to make sure they stay up to date on all pertinent regulations and work to ensure compliance to help their patients receive necessary care without issue. 

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