Telemedicine Guide for ChiropractorsPosted: May 6, 2020 - By Cris Rivera
Many businesses in the United States—and around the world—are closed with the uncertainty of when they’ll be able to be able to open back up. In response to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, state medical boards have loosened their telemedicine regulations. This makes it easier for your practice to provide patients with chiropractic consultations through telemedicine.
Understandably, adjusting your practice to temporarily provide video conferencing consultations is a tough proposition for many, but telemedicine can serve as the solution to help keep your practice running. Here are four tips to help prepare your chiropractic practice for telemedicine.
1. Verify with your insurance carriers that telemedicine will be covered.
Remember that televisits should be done no differently than if you were to see your patient in the office. Keep physical and/or digital records of your visits and ensure that you are remaining HIPAA compliant.
Before using Telemedicine to see patients, get assurance that you will be reimbursed for your services. Currently 37 states have parity laws in place that require payers to cover Telemedicine to the same extent as an in-person visit. These states require private-payer reimbursement for video consultations.
States without parity laws: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
States with pending bills: Alaska, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Dakota
2. Check with your state’s chiropractic licensing board for guidance.
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, specific policies regarding telemedicine from your state’s licensing board might have changed or no longer apply given the COVID-19 outbreak. However, you are still only allowed to treat patients who are from the state in which you are licensed to practice in. You can access the American Chiropractic Association’s directory of state licensing boards here.
3. Do not suspend or cancel your malpractice insurance!
This is very important! If you are planning to continue to see patients, do not cancel or suspend your malpractice insurance. If you suspend your insurance and continue to offer telemedicine, any claim filed will not be covered. In fact, a number of malpractice insurance providers are adding telemedicine to their members’ coverage if it wasn’t already included. Call your malpractice insurance provider to verify that your policy includes telemedicine visits.
4. Communicate to your patients that you now offer telemedicine
Don’t forget to let your patients know that you’ve added telemedicine to your practice! Send emails and one-off text messages to update your patients on your practice’s new consultation options.
Though regulations are relaxed due to COVID-19, tools like Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and more are not designed to provide Telemedicine and may put patients’ health data at risk. Additionally, these video conferencing platforms do not supports chiropractic tools like sharing SOAP notes or x-rays, and are unlikely to be hosted on a HIPAA-compliant server.
This is an unprecedented time for the healthcare industry. What might be true about your malpractice insurance policy or state’s licensing board guidelines might not be true a week from now, so be sure to monitor any changes as this situation continues to evolve.