The Academy’s Ad Hoc Task Force on COVID-19 is monitoring pandemic developments daily, assessing the impact on practices, and providing guidance most relevant to dermatologists. The most current information is being posted to these pages as we have it. Check back for updates.
The government has significantly relaxed regulations around telemedicine so that physicians can continue to provide care to their patients during the pandemic. Many private payers have followed suit; see below.
NOTE: CMS is currently processing telemedicine claims based on its new guidance, however this process could be delayed or require additional clarification from your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). Please reach out to your MAC for further guidance.
Teledermatology and COVID-19 webinar
Jules Lipoff, MD, chair of the AAD's Teledermatology Task Force, led a webinar on teledermatology and COVID-19 on March 30, 2020 along with several AAD staff experts. Watch it now!
Claim CME after watching the webinar.
NOTE: CMS has released new coding guidance regarding telephone-only codes as well as place of service and modifier codes since the airing of this webinar.
Can you perform teledermatology on your patients?
Yes, if you are treating a patient in the same state as your medical license. You should check your individual state laws regarding the provision of telemedicine services especially as it relates to emergency declarations.
If you are treating a patient in a different state than your license, CMS has temporarily waived the licensing requirement for Medicare patients; however, you should check if the state your patient resides in has any additional guidance.
Make sure you also check with your malpractice carrier before getting started.
Do you need to have seen a Medicare patient prior to the outbreak to see them via telemedicine during it?
Thanks to the CARES Act, it is now official that during the COVID-19 crisis Medicare beneficiaries do not have to have a previous relationship with their physician in order for your interaction to qualify for the telehealth waiver. In addition, those interactions may happen via a voice-only device. Prior to the CARES Act both modalities had been part of CMS’s guidance, but the CARES Act makes them law. Many insurers have adopted temporary policies that provide physicians an ability to deliver teledermatology appointments but benefits should be verified.
What should you do to get started?
The AAD has assembled information on new guidance from Medicare and private payers. In short, physicians can use methods that have not previously been allowed to see their patients without fear of violating HIPAA rules. The AAD is actively compiling a list of vendors that are offering services to our members.
Are you looking for information on coding teledermatology?
Dermatologists can bill for telehealth visits for any Medicare patient in any location as those restrictions have been lifted. The waiver for both new and established patients. You can utilize real-time virtual visits as well as store-and-forward (text, email) and telephone visits. Depending on the method you utilize, there are new codes available to use. The AAD has created a flowchart to help you determine which code to use.
Wondering if your private payers are covering telemedicine?
The Academy is tracking payer policy updates (clicking here will open a downloadable spreadsheet). Members have reported that insurers have provided inconsistent guidance on how to code these telemedicine encounters and which codes are covered. The AADA is requesting members report information by insurer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to learn more?
Dialogues in Dermatology is releasing three free podcasts about COVID-19. The first, Navigating Practice During COVID-19: AAD Resources and Embracing Teledermatology, is available now.
(Updated on 4/3/20)