Wondering if anyone has any language for their billing department around billing for telephone/virtual visits that patients were not historically billed for?
Many of our payers have waived cost share for all telehealth visits, but the ones who haven’t patients are upset when they receive a bill.
Did you get any feedback on this? We are looking for the same thing.
I sent this to our clinic administrator to see if this would work for our clinic… We are noting verbal informed consent in our chart documentation as well.
VERBAL SCRIPT SAMPLE:
During this national emergency, utilizing telehealth is more important than ever to promote the practice of social distancing to reduce spread of COVID-19 while being able to still provided the needed medical care for patients. Most insurance plans have temporarily waived telehealth copays and cost-sharing for telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes video and telephone calls made by our licensed providers.
Our practice will not be collecting a copay associated with telehealth remote services, but we will bill your insurance company directly for our services. You should not receive you a bill from our office for the telehealth services. If you receive a bill by mistake, you can simply call the phone number on the statement to have the billing error resolved on your behalf.
We say pretty much the same, but take it a little step further:
We will bill your insurance directly. If they turn the cost back over to the patient, then the copay is your responsibility. We’re sorry that insurance companies do that to you. (Thanks to Chip for this wording…putting the onus on the insurance companies, not us). How can we help? We also have an internal policy not to send to collections at this time. We’ll deal with patient AR softly for the next month or two.
Oftentimes, we’ll ask the parent to pay what they think the visit was worth to them. That sometimes makes them stop and think about what they are getting. Most when pressed this way, will begrudgingly or thoughtfully pay their bill.
Here is a different perspective: We as pediatricians are soft on billing. Telehealth is going to become part of what we do, especially if there is a second wave of COVID19 in the fall. If you set a precedent that you are not going to bill the patient now for a telehealth visit or copay, you are setting your self up for more financial issues in the fall when you bill the parent for another telehealth visit and the parent’s reply will be “I didn’t have to pay for the one in the spring, why do I have to pay for this one?” Instead of not billing for the spring telehealth visit or copay, have a policy that informs the patient: if we were not in a pandemic your child would have been seen in the office and the visit would have been your financial responsibility. Our office set up telehealth for the safety and well being of your child and family, let you remain in contact with your primary care doctor, instead of seeing a stranger at a walk in, and provided continuity of care.
The parent should be instructed to call their insurer with complaints about telehealth coverage, but the doctor expects payment.
What @burlpedi said! The copay on these visits is a trip or three to Starbucks. If their (poor) insurance doesn’t cover it, yell at the employers and the inscos. Too much of our healthcare system depends on pediatricians giving away their services. It’s time for that to stop.
Thank you all! I agree with what is said, we are just looking for some language for billing policies and billing staff when it comes up. Appreciate the thoughts!
Thanks Chip. The big arrow had me LOL.
I was invited a couple of weeks ago to join your webinars by my Mead Johnson rep. I appreciate the insight that you and Paullie are providing.
For physicians like me, that are in small practices, resources that provide concise, practical information are invaluable.
I’ll be listening in on this Thursday’s webinar.
Richard Ruben, MD
Burlington Pediatrics LLC