Telemedicine and COVID – an update – 6/11/20 – Contract Diagnostics
As we all know the COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the near term (and I’d say longer term consumer behavior) delivery of health care. Thankfully, technology allows for certain visits to be done via technology – Telemedicine. While telemedicine has been around for X years, it has only recently been thrust into the spotlight as a place for patients to get ambulatory care. With all the limitations of Telemedicine the benefits have shined during these recent months. Telemedicine has allowed patients to do routine visits, commonly for Primary care, Psychiatry, and even some Dermatology visits. We’ve heard from Pulmonologist as well as Pain Medicine physicians on the successes they’ve had.
While Telemedicine is convenient and cost effective for all, the use prior to COVID-19 was not popular for a few reasons. Most common is that patients just like a personal visit to the physicians’ office. Of course this makes any testing or lab draws by the provider easier and quicker as well – they can do this right in the office! Most provides do not like to use Telemedicine as the typical reimbursements have not been as highly reimbursed as a general visit to the office. While there have been changes to how some insurance companies (including CMS) reimburse for telehealth the increases do not account for lost time dealing with technical issues or software.
How do I get into Telemedicine? Well there are many companies that provide this service. We would encourage to contact them and interview into their system. They would be offering a contract – typically an independent contractor agreement. Telemedicine agreements or employment agreements all need to be reviewed. First you need to make sure you are able to do these ‘outside activities’ with your current position/employment. If you are able, you need to make sure the new agreement for the Telemedicine includes a proper termination provision if/when you wish to terminate the relationship. You also need to be sure of the type and limits on the malpractice insurance. Of course, compensation is included and it is typically depending on the hours you are available, and the amount of patient consults you are able to do during that time. Most of these agreements require a certain number of shifts or hours, including nights and weekends, guaranteed by you to be available per month. Another item to be aware of with these Telehealth contracts set up as independent contractor agreements – . you need to know your tax requirement and liabilities!
These documents and contracts tend to be pretty straight forward and simple to understand with the right guidance, but you should still have a professional review the document to make sure all is clear to you and you understand your risk. Knowing this is half the battle! We at Contract Diagnostics are familiar with these agreements. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions on Telemedicine or Telehealth contract reviews – we are here to help.
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