Staying at home now is essential to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But people at home still need health care, regardless of their COVID-19 status. This fact has created an urgency to expand patients’ access to health care from home. At Pattern Health, this has always been part of our mission. We exist to help health care systems quickly implement remote models of care — not just for now, but for good.
Healthcare systems around the world are already adapting to the new normal. “We are actively redesigning the way we deliver care to do what is best for our patients during this time of crisis. Some aspects of that redesign will likely persist after the crisis has passed,” says Thomas H. Lee, MD, MSc (NEJM Catalyst, 2020).
A wide variety of remote digital health use cases are now supported and billable.
- Telehealth visits
- Virtual check-ins — short follow-ups
- E-visits — patient-initiated evaluations, communication, and management services conducted over a 7-day period of time.
- Remote patient monitoring
- Chronic care management
Policymakers and payers are promoting these changes. Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new telehealth rules and billing codes that represent a major step to encourage the use of digital health tools to evaluate and manage patients remotely, including fully reimbursing for telehealth services in the patient’s home. The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) is tracking other payers who have followed suit.
We in the digital health community have long known the potential of digital health to improve care. That’s why we built the Pattern Health platform — to make it quick and easy for our healthcare partners to create and deploy their impactful programs for a wide range of use cases. Our partners use our platform to securely collect biometric data and patient recorded outcomes (PROs), communicate via chat, schedule activities, motivate behavior change, deliver educational content, and more.
Telehealth visits are billed using the same CPT codes as in-person office visits, with Place of Service (POS) code 02-Telehealth.
Medicare pays the same amount for telehealth services as it would if the service were furnished in person, and beneficiary out-of-pocket costs are also the same.
Services eligible for telehealth (listed here) are unchanged for the COVID-19 emergency.
With these tools, most types of care can be adapted to be remote in one way or another. Our partners have created programs for remote cardiac rehab; weight loss and weight management; chronic condition management of hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and cancer; mental health and wellness; perioperative care, and more.
Digital programs are imperative in this critical time to aid patients and doctors in social distancing.
Right now there’s still time to get these programs up and running before health system capacity becomes constrained by COVID-19 cases. If your program has not yet gone digital and remote, and you now need to transition quickly to adapt to the coronavirus health emergency, it can be a bit overwhelming — you may have questions about EHR integration, IT security, billing codes, program workflow and design. Our program management team is equipped with answers specific to your needs informed by many years of experience working with the world’s leading health systems. We’re ready to partner with you to get your digital programs up and running quickly. You can get in touch with us here.
Telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency – HHS