As we’ve discussed numerous times before, telehealth is quickly gaining popularity and recognition across the country. While the idea of consulting with a doctor via a computer screen from the comfort of your own home may have seemed like science fiction just a few decades ago, it has now become a mainstay of modern healthcare. And thanks to new legislature, telemedicine will soon be even more accessible to veterans across the nation.
Since last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been working on an updated rule that would allow providers to perform virtual visits with patients across state lines. While telehealth has been used by the VA for some time, providers were limited only to patients who lived within the same state in which the provider was licensed. But thanks to this new rule, veterans will now be able to receive in-home consultations no matter where they live.
The rule, which is a key portion of the VA’s Anywhere To Anywhere virtual medicine initiative, is expected to increase the 12% of VA patients who used telehealth services in 2017. It is important to note, however, that this update will only apply to VA-appointed providers, not those who work through the VA Choice program.
Even as the VA passes this rule, the Senate and House are reviewing two separate bills that would make the update into a formal law once it passes and is signed by the president. At present, there is no formal timeline for these bills.
If you code or bill for a provider who routinely performs telehealth services for veterans, especially those in other states, then prepare to see a rise in the number of these virtual medicine claims. As always, make sure to review the codes and billing procedures for these types of claims so that you will be prepared for the influx of patients.