Modern healthcare services have adopted virtual care and telehealth therapy quickly. While telehealth solutions have been around for over a decade, they underwent a rapid ascension in response to the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic—a 2021 study found that some 40% of Americans have used telehealth servicesAlmost all of them have done so since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The number of patients engaging with telemedicine has grown since then, and all indications are that telehealth’s newfound prominence is here to stay—remote care is too convenient for patients and providers alike to give up its place in the healthcare landscape.
This rapid rise in popularity will undoubtedly bring many questions from potential adopters. We thought it would help to provide statistics-based solutions to some of the most popular telehealth queries.
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Telehealth: Key Statistics
Telehealth is a subject that has many misconceptions.
Today’s patients want convenient Telehealth is a way for patients to connect with their healthcare providers. Find out more about telehealth.
Key Stat 1 – Patients only want to meet you in person.
Fact: Patients are demanding telehealth’s virtual convenience.
82% of patients believe virtual visits are as good or better than in-person visits.
91% believe that telemedicine makes getting the care you need easy.
93% find telehealth solutions simple to use.
In 2021 40% of AmericansTelehealth will be utilized.
Top 3 Telehealth Benefits:
- Better patient outcomes
- Reduced travel times
- Increased access to specialists
Key Stat 2 – Telehealth is far too expensive for my office.
Fact:Telehealth can be cost-effective for independent practitioners if you choose the right solution.
Yesterday: Telemedicine solutions that are complex and expensive.
Today: Telehealth solutions are simple and inexpensive.
Video carts, cameras, equipment, and equipment are no longer necessary for providers.vi
You should look for a scalable solution that allows the addition of services as you need them.
Choose a HIPAA-compliant solution that allows you and your patients to use existing computers/smartphones.
Using video is about workflow—not technology. If it is too difficult to use or requires an app, it won’t work for my needs. -Andrew Barbash, MD
Telehealth pays for itself
- Lower service delivery costs
- Fewer no-shows
- Efficiencies increase
- Greater patient satisfaction
- Higher patient retention
Key Stat 3: Older patients aren’t comfortable with telehealth.
Fact: Today’s seniors are more connected than ever before.
Seniors will adopt digital technology at a high rate in 2022.
79% of 60-year-olds rely on technology for staying connected. 76% of those aged 50-60 and 72% of those 70-80 rely on technology to stay connected.
66% of seniors 50+ use technology for connecting with others
43% of seniors over 50 use technology to stay in good health
- The majority of Americans 65+ are open to using telemedicine solutions.
- Patients 51+ 82% of the discharge-related provider–to-patient telehealth in 2018 was accounted for by them
- It’s not necessary to travel Telehealth is ideal for homebound elderly patients and their caregivers.
Key Stat 4: Telehealth is slow to get up-and-running.
Fact: It is easy to set up the right solution.
Start small with things like lab result calls.
Implementation can take up to 30 business days.
“When I first thought about telehealth, I thought I had to buy all sorts of cameras, lighting, special cables, and equipment. All I need is a webcam that’s a part of my computer for my telemedicine visits.” –Phil Boucher MD.
Key Stat 5: You won’t get reimbursed for telehealth services.
Fact: There are many payment options available depending on the state you live in and the payer mix.
In response to customer demand, major federal and state legislation was passed.
Live video consultations in Medicaid fee for service are covered by 50 states and Washington, DC.x
Commercial payers are already covered for telehealth if there is a telemedicine parity statute in your state.xi
Cash payments are an option:
Many doctors charge a convenience cost of $35-$125 Payer reimbursement may be used in lieu of or in addition to it.
What are the benefits of Telehealth Therapy?
There’s a reason telehealth therapy services are becoming more popular: the approach to therapy has much upside from the client’s perspective.
It’s easier for clients to access telehealth counseling.
Telehealth therapy is a way for clients to get the services they need, from the comfort of home. Telehealth appointments can be booked easily. You simply need to self-serve available times and choose the one that suits your schedule.
Additionally, since clients don’t have to commute to the therapist’s office and back again, they can save time and keep appointments even when they’re busy.
Therapy services can be accessed by clients even if they live far away.
Not everyone can afford to live near the therapist they require. If someone is experiencing trauma and needs to see a therapist who specializes in that treatment, it may be difficult to find a therapist who can help them. However, by booking telehealth counseling appointments, individuals can see the perfect therapist for their needs — even if that person lives on the other side of the country.
It helps clients avoid infectious diseases.
It’s easier to have a family member involved in the process .
Many clients would prefer to have a loved one nearby during therapy sessions for comfort and moral support. But what happens when the person you’d want to be there the most lives in another state? Telehealth therapy allows clients to bring their friends and family along for the sessions, which makes them more productive.
The quality of care is improved.
Engagement is the key to achieving the best results for clients. Since telehealth technology has gained a reputation for its effectiveness, High satisfaction scoresPractices that use telehealth therapy are more likely to deliver better care to their clients, according to the people who use it.
What are the benefits of Telehealth Therapy for Practices
Now that you have a better idea of some of the main benefits telehealth brings to clients let’s turn our attention to how the technology can benefit your therapy practice.
You can reach a wider area.
If you have a practice that only offers in-person appointments and is located in a suburban location, it’s likely that the majority of your clients live or work there. In other words, it’s unlikely that someone will commute three hours to see you, no matter how effective you are. By embracing telehealth therapy, it’s possible to cater to clients across the country — significantly expanding your total addressable market by flipping a single switch.
You can view more clients
Telehealth appointments are more efficient than in person ones. For example, you don’t need to wait for someone stuck in traffic or for two clients to wrap up a conversation in the waiting room before moving on to the next appointment. You can now see more clients at once because of this efficiency.
More vital revenue and a healthier bottom line .
During the pandemic the government increased the number of Telehealth services coveredMedicare. Telehealth therapy sessions can be as expensive as in-person sessions. By Telehealth Therapy:, it’s possible to treat more clients over the course of the day, thereby strengthening your practice’s financial position. Plus, Clients are less likely to cancelThese gains are further accentuated by the fact that they are a combination of.
Improved work-life balance .
Telehealth allows clients access their sessions from any device connected to the internet. The same goes for therapists. Telehealth therapy allows therapists to avoid having to travel to the office every day and can be conducted from their home. This helps therapists maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevents burnout.
The quality of care is improved.
You can make it easier for clients to access your services from a wider area by treating them with a more personal and friendly manner. This makes it easier to help your clients live the best lives possible.
How to choose the best telehealth therapy approach for your private practice
Survey clients : Ask clients about their opinions on online sessions versus in-office visits. Tabulate the results.
Leverage that feedback : These answers will guide your decisions. You must respond to 80 percent of your clients who prefer telehealth over in-office visits.
On the flip side, if everyone’s telling you they can’t wait to get back to an in-person setting, you need to figure out how to make that happen as soon as possible.
The Online Therapy Method That is the Most Efficient
Are you aiming to get more clients into your office? Are you looking to increase your virtual visits?
Perhaps you’re trying a little bit of each.
Whatever you decide, it’s probably worth your while to update your GoodTherapy profile accordingly.
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Telehealth: Insurance & Legal Considerations
When deciding whether telehealth services will be covered by insurance, there are three things to consider. Individual states, insurance companies and professions have different requirements. Also, claims can vary greatly. Thus, something that might cause one claim to be denied could be irrelevant to another claim’s approval. Knowing what questions to ask and what the answers mean for your practice’s procedures is essential.
Is it covered? Will I be paid?
First, check to see if your state has passed telehealth insurance parity legislations. These laws often require parity between types of services or the value of reimbursement. For example: Parity of coverageTelehealth-based services must be covered by insurers in addition to the services they provide when they are provided in the office. If a state requires, payment parityInsurers reimburse providers for telehealth services at a similar rate to in-person encounters.
Although many states have coverage laws, providers have found it more difficult to achieve payment parity. CMS has already announced that certain payment arrangements will be made.Parity changes will be reversedOnce the COVID crisis is over. Legislation is being considered in several states to safeguard temporary payment parity changes. However, even if they are passed, these laws will only apply state-by–state.
What changes do I need to make in order to file claims?
The provider must bill the services using the correct codes and any modifiers. This is the second insurance-related consideration. Most mental health providers are already familiar with the “95” CPT code modifier for telehealth services.
During COVID, however, CMS reminded providers that claims should include “DR” (disaster-related) and “CR” (catastrophe-related) modifiers as needed to ensure payment. DR/CR modifiers aren’t generally required for outpatient mental health services, and they were used more by those whose underlying roles shifted during the pandemic.
For example, an ambulance company could seek reimbursement for responding to a 911 call and rendering paramedic services, even if they didn’t transport the patient back to the hospital, because COVID requirements didn’t allow them to follow that protocol. When filing their claim with Medicare, the company would add a DR/CR code to identify COVID as the reason they didn’t take the patient to the hospital.
Does it matter where I’m licensed?
The provider’s license matters to insurance companies. It is used to determine if the provider can provide services in the state where they were received. They verify it during credentialing or paneling before allowing the provider to join their network. A “place of service” code and office address on a claim form could also reveal that the provider is out of state.
Telehealth Care Licensing
Providers were licensed in the state they provided care. The client’s state of residence was generally irrelevant because clients saw their clinicians at a physical location.
Telehealth’s rise in popularity was accompanied by a rapid expansion of technology at a pace that was faster than legal developments. Clients continued to see their providers in person. Coverage parity laws were established shortly before COVID. When the pandemic forced providers into suspending in-person care, they were faced with a new and difficult question: who can I treat?
If I’m only using telehealth, am I restrained by my state license?
The law, in most states, considers a telehealth visitIt must take place at the client’s location during the encounter. This means that the provider must be licensed in the state where the client is located — a requirement that theoretically ensures that the provider is regulated by the client’s state and is aware of that state’s practice requirements, such as:
- Practice scope
- Care standards
A great therapist in Illinois will likely also be a great therapist in California. Technology now allows them to bridge that geographic divide — if only the law followed suit.
For example, say that you’re licensed in New York, live in New York, and have always seen clients at your New York office. Some of your clients moved permanently out of New York City during COVID. The law prohibits you to treat clients in NJ and CT via telehealth unless New York has a boundary-state exception. Some dense areas, such as the DC-VA/MD metro area, have recognized that it is difficult to regulate certain professionals individually and have implemented waivers or licenses from border-state licensing.
These requirements are based on the assumption that clients and providers live in the same area. Proximity may even be clinically necessary — if a provider determines that a client’s care necessitates an in-person visit, they could schedule that appointment promptly. This is mostly an issue for therapists who work with youth or people with serious mental illness.
If providers and clients are in different locations, an in-person visit would be impractical or impossible — even if the standard of care required it. COVID however, rewrote some of these norms. Providers were forced to ask whether a client was “safer” receiving teletherapy from home or risking COVID infection by entering their office. Providers were also required to assess their health and consider how in-person visits could affect their families, staff, clients, and their families. Telehealth quickly became a standard and providers could continue to treat their clients even when people moved around due to the pandemic.
My profession has an interstate licensure agreement. Is that a change?
The Psychology Interjurisdictional Commitment (PSYPACT), coordinates the practice telepsychology across state lines. This gives licensed psychologists greater flexibility. Currently, Over one-third of the U.S. states have PSYPACT legislation that is effectiveThis number will rise to half by 2021.
PSYPACT requires that psychologists be located in the same state where they are licensed. In addition, the client must be located in a participating country. However, the authorization does not automatically come. Psychologists must have the authorization to practice telepsychology. Get an Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telephone Psychology (APIT).ASPPB E.Passport.
The speed at which new PSYPACT legislation is being passed suggests that lawmakers are beginning to recognize the importance and demand for teletherapy services across state lines. However, laws still fall behind the technology. Therapists who want to establish an interstate practice need to be familiar with the laws.
Figuring out precisely what is required of you and what path makes sense for your practice isn’t something you have to do alone. Jackson LLP Healthcare Attorneys is a law firm that specializes in providing mental health providers with advice. This will help you to get the right guidance for your psychotherapy practice.
[This section article is for educational purposes and is not intended to be specific legal advice to any particular person. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between Jackson LLP Healthcare Attorneys and the reader. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.]
Telehealth Therapy: How to Get Started
Telehealth therapy is a promising option. You might be wondering how to get started with this technology.
There are several solutions that have been proven to work specifically for telehealth.
Allows therapists and other professionals to host video sessions via a secure, HIPAA compliant platform. You can communicate with patients using secure texting or SMS to keep them engaged.
iSalus AnywhereCare is an easy-to-use telehealth solution for individual providers that regularly integrates with your practice’s other tools. AnywhereCare allows you to bill clients for telehealth visits with just a few clicks.
If you’re looking to add to or grow your telehealth therapy options to increase client reach and improve business and client outcomes, EverCommerce can help. Learn more about EverCommerce. UpdoxOr iSalusYou are right.
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