The COVID-19 pandemic has healthcare providers evolving their practices daily as protocols for diagnosing and treating the virus change so quickly. Telemedicine has become an effective means of triaging patients while limiting exposure for both patients and office staff.
The AMA(1) has issued a guide to quickly establishing a telemedicine offering at your practice. Some suggestions include:
- Establish an implementation team
- Review malpractice insurance policy
- Evaluate payment guidelines
- Select third-party vendor to provide services
- Ensure HIPAA compliance
- Train clinicians, care team members, and schedulers
- Set up telehealth space at your location
- Determine documentation protocols
- Ensure you receive advanced consent from patients for telemedicine interactions
- Conduct proactive patient outreach to spread awareness of telemedicine offering
The Department of Health and Human Services(2) has issued guidance to health care providers who are new to providing telemedicine options to their patients. They have confirmed that covered health care providers will not be subject to penalties for violations of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules that occur during the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. This notification does not affect the application of the HIPAA Rules to other areas of health care outside of telehealth during the emergency.
CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services)(3) has issued guidelines for Medicare and Medicaid patients. For private insurers, several healthcare companies have announced that they will make telehealth more widely available. Some are offering telehealth services for free for a certain period of time.
Contact us today. We can review your professional liability policy to ensure your coverage aligns with current telemedicine mandates and guidelines.
Please Note: Any communications relating to the impact of coronavirus/COVID-19 on insurance policies or healthcare protocols are not legal opinions, warranties, or guarantees, and should not be relied upon as such. We do not render legal advice or make coverage decisions regarding COVID-19 claims. Given the ongoing and constantly evolving pandemic situation, this communication does not necessarily reflect the latest information regarding recently enacted, pending, or proposed legislation or mandates that could override, alter, or affect existing insurance coverage. Please consult with an attorney for specific legal advice in this regard.