Barriers to Telemedicine Health Management
Partnership HealthPlan has four telemedicine sites offering endocrinology services, with a fifth site slated for August, Layne says. The plan contracts with TeleMed2U, a multi-specialty physician group providing specialists through telemedicine, to offer a real-time live video connection with an endocrinologist and patient education on diabetes, he says.
Endocrinology visits totaled 153 from the telehealth program's start in August 2014 through May 2015, "and will only continue to rise," says Layne.
He cites challenges, noting Partnership is paying for telehealth as the state figures out how to reimburse for it. Partnership is working with the state on legislation to allow federally qualified health centers, which can only bill for face-to-face encounters, to include telemedicine reimbursement in their wrap-around payment system, he says. A bill enacted into law would need CMS regulatory approval.
Partnership also is providing training and pairing physicians already involved in telehealth with other doctors, Layne says.