What is Telepsychiatry?
Basics of Telepsychiatry
Telepsychiatry is the application of telemedicine to the specialty field of psychiatry. The term typically describes the delivery of psychiatric assessment and care through telecommunications technology, usually videoconferencing. Telepsychiatry services can be offered through intermediary companies that partner with facilities to increase care capacities, or by individual providers or provider groups. Most commonly, telepsychiatry encounters take place at medical facilities under the supervision of onsite staff, though at-home models are becoming accepted as long as they are in compliance with HIPAA standards.
One of the drivers behind telepsychiatry’s growth in the United States has been a national shortage of psychiatrists, particularly in specialty areas such as child and adolescent psychiatry; telepsychiatry can allow fewer doctors to serve more patients by improving utilization of the psychiatrist’s time. Telepsychiatry can also make it easier for psychiatrists to treat patients in rural or under-served areas by eliminating the need for either party to travel.
The most common means of insurance coverage for telehealth services among the United States is to incorporate coverage into the Medicare program. Reimbursement for Medicare-covered services must satisfy federal requirements of efficiency, economy, and quality of care. Since 1999, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for all kinds of telehealth services have expanded, requirements of providers have been reduced, and grants have been given to support telehealth program adoption. For 2014, the Center for Medicare (CMS) services does cover telemedicine services, including telepsychiatry in many areas.
Reimbursement for Telepsychiatry
Thirty-two states have legislated that private insurance cover telemedicine, according to the American Telemedicine Association. Medicaid programs in 48 states reimburse for some telepsychiatry services. State Medicaid policies, rules, and laws are continuing to evolve. Medicare will reimburse for telepsychiatry services if the community is considered rural.
HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a United States federal law that establishes security and privacy standards for electronic medical information exchange, including telemental health services. In order to comply with HIPAA guidelines, many providers develop their own specialized videoconferencing services, since common third-party consumer solutions do not include sufficient security and privacy safeguards. There are also a growing number of HIPAA-compliant technologies available for telepsychiatry.
One of the biggest challenges for telemedicine is bringing reimbursements from commercial as well as private payers. In case of any claim denials, you have to contact the payers’ customer care department for more explanation. This process is complicated as well as time-consuming. There is a simpler solution, you can contact E2E Medical Billing Services for telemedicine billing requirements. To know more about our billing and coding services you can call us at 888-552-1290 or write to us at [email protected]