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Sept 2014 – How Do I Get Paid for Telemedicine?

View of a room full of people attending a conference
Three male panelists and one female sitting at a table

Deborah Birkmire-Peters, PhD, Director, Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center, facilitated a session entitled “How Do I Get Paid for Telemedicine?” at the 2014 Hawaiʻi Health Workforce Summit: Building the Future held on September 6, 2014 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. 

The panel included Dr. David Wong, a dermatologist who lives in California and provides teledermatology services to patients in Hawaiʻi. David Wong, MD, CEO and Co-Founder, Direct Dermatology, explained that his services include store-and-forward and confirmed that he receives reimbursement for these services from Medicare.

David Barton, MD, provided a description of how he provides telehealth services for pain management using a Cisco technology for video teleconferencing. 

Dan Ulrich, MD, a Pediatrician and Psychiatrist and Medical Director for the Hawaiʻi Department of Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, reported that psychiatrists are successfully billing for telehealth services including: assessment, monitoring, individual and family therapy. He confirmed that regarding malpractice The Doctors Company and MIEC are known carriers that cover services provided via telehealth. He emphasized the need to check with your carrier for special provisions, e.g., advance notice of providing service via telehealth. 

Bonnie Preston, MSPH, an Outreach and Policy Specialist with HHS Region IX, provided a presentation remotely and focused on Medicare Telehealth policies. She reported that in 2013 Medicare reimbursed about a total of $1,194 for telehealth services in Hawaiʻi, of which none were store-and-forward. Comparatively, Medicare reimbursed Alaska $25,000 for telehealth of which $500 were store-and-forward services.

There was lively discussion from the audience indicating much interest in the panel and very specifically “How to I get paid for telehealth?“