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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Telehealth

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What is a Telehealth visit?

A Telehealth visit is a video and audio call with a Nurse Practitioner or Doctor.

Why is a Telehealth visit a better option?

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowing telehealth visits to substitute in the place of a face to face visit. Telehealth visits allow for a decreased risk of spreading the virus. At all times, telehealth is a convenient way for patients to see a provider, along with being a critical lifeline for patients who are unable to leave their homes.

Do all insurance companies reimburse for telehealth visits?

There is a positive movement within the insurance industry to recognize and reimburse telehealth visits in the same way as a physical office visit. Medicare/Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Blue Cross / Blue Shield are all reimbursing for this service today. 

Are there forms or other preparations required before a patient can have a telehealth visit?

The most important thing for a telehealth visit to take place is for the patient to have an electronic device capable of both audio and video communication with the provider. For Example, an I-phone using Facetime. The provider will be able to complete everything else during the call.

What type of care is available with a telehealth visit?

Visual diagnosis, ordering labs, ordering diagnostic tests like x-rays, MRI’s, CT Scans, and ultrasound. Medication management, including deprescribing and prescribing of drugs. Disease process and diagnoses, advanced care planning conversations, and the ordering of additional in-home services, including home health and hospice. 

What type of care is not available with a telehealth visit?

Any emergency care. Examples would include bleeding, acute chest pain, shortness of breath—anything considered emergent by the medical community that would require an ER visit.

Should people schedule a telehealth visit even if they don’t have the resources for a video call?

SC House Calls recommends that a telehealth visit includes both video and audio for the best possible diagnosis. A patient should consider seeking the help of a neighbor or friend who may have the technology to allow for the call. Audio only calls are a last resort because they limit a provider’s ability to make a thorough assessment.

Can anyone in any condition or at any age have a telehealth visit?

To qualify for telehealth, visit with SC House Calls, the patient must be at least 18 years old. If a patient is unable to speak for themself, it is entirely appropriate for their caregiver to act on their behalf.

How long does a typical telehealth visit last? 

A telehealth visit is similar to an office visit. It can last from 15 minutes to sometimes over 70 minutes, depending on an individuals’ needs. A provider will review a patients’ diagnosis, perform a medication review, check previous reports, and labs to obtain a better understanding of the patient’s needs. Short of a hands-on care/assessment, the provider performs the same functions they would during a face to face appointment.

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