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This is determined on a state-by-state basis. In Pennsylvania, an in-person visit is not required before a telehealth meeting. But a providor may require an in-person visit before granting telehealth on occasion.
In many cases, yes. Many insurers voluntarily pay for telemedicine visits. But in Pennsylvania insurers are not required to cover it.
Medicare: Medicare does cover telemedicine in certain circumstances and with a number of limitations. Some telehealth services including remote radiology, pathology and some cardiology are covered as physician services. Video visits are covered by beneficiaries living in rural areas, but these visits must be conducted at a specific originating site.
Medicaid: Most state Medicaid plans cover some kinds of telehealth services, but each one has a different set of rules and requirements. We recommend having a look at the state-specific information available on www.atawiki.org and the 50 State Telemedicine Gaps Analysis: Coverage and Reimbursement provided by the American Telemedicine Association.
The quality of telemedicine as a method of healthcare delivery is confirmed by decades of research and demonstrations. Telemedicine has been found to be a safe, cost-effective and convenient way to provide healthcare services.
There are three main beneficiaries of telemedicine:
Patients: Telemedicine gives patients the opportunity to receive care without a trip to the doctor’s office. They don’t have to take time away from work or family responsibilities. They don’t waste time traveling, or money on parking or public transportation. They don’t risk exposure to other patients with communicable illnesses. And they get better health outcomes and become more engaged in their own healthcare.
Providers: Video visits reduce the time of each encounter, allowing providers to see more patients, more efficiently. This boosts revenue and minimize overhead expenses. Telemedicine reduces no-shows and cancellations. It also helps secure patient loyalty in a competitive healthcare landscape.
The Healthcare System: Even if you never use telemedicine yourself, you will likely benefit from the practice. The efficiency of telemedicine will reduce wait-times for in-person visits, help keep people with non-urgent conditions out of the emergency room, and improve the overall health of the population.
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