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Covid19 Drives Telehealth and Telemedicine – Addiction Treatment Providers Take Note

Posted on Mar 30, 2020 by Jim Peake


If you aren’t providing telehealth and telemedicine services right now you want to not only think about it but start taking action ASAP.  The latest Corona Virus and Covid19 is forcing all of us to make drastic changes in our personal lives and companies.  Patients will be reluctant to come into a residential treatment center as well as an outpatient treatment center.

In order to reduce the chances of contracting the virus many rehabs will need to pivot their business practices moving forward.  Each state and each insurance company will have their own policies and procedures that need to be adhered to.  You are going to have to pay attention and ask a lot of questions to your biggest payors and each individual state.

Big providers like Medicare are already reimbursing medical providers for Telehealth services.

EXPANSION OF TELEHEALTH WITH 1135 WAIVERUnder this new waiver, Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth across the country and including in patient’s places of residence starting March 6, 2020.

You must check to see if they insurance companies and states will reimburse for Behavioral Health services.  Here are a couple of resources for reimbursements for telemedicine.

Reimbursements for Telemedicine

Medicaid Reimbursements

With regards to Medicaid – States must submit a (separate) reimbursement (attachment 4.19-B) SPA if they want to provide reimbursement for telemedicine services or components of telemedicine differently than is currently being reimbursed for face-to-face services.

PPO Providers and Government Entities are Moving Quickly

The Center for Connected Health Policy which is the national telehealth policy resource center has a lot of state related information on Covid-19 related state actions.

Humana is expanding telehealth coverageBCBS is expanding telehealth coverage as of March 20, 2020.   Aetna has their TeleDoc program.  CIGNA has a 24/7 telehealth program.  United Healthcare has expanded their coverage as well in TeleHealth on Optum Behavioral Health.  States like Texas are driving telehealth coverage.  ASAM has a link that talks about the role of telehealth and telemedicine in addiction treatment.  The DEA is allowing telehealth addiction treatment during the Corona Virus outbreak.

Lipi Roy, MD (She serves as clinical assistant professor at the NYU Langone Health. She served as Chief of Addiction Medicine for NYC jails including Rikers Island, overseeing substance use treatment and recovery services at the nation’s second-largest jail) published an excellent article in Forbes Magazine asking:  “Are the addiction treatment facilities prepared during the Corona Virus outbreak?”

Highmark West Virginia is offering its members access to a technology-enabled opioid use disorder program (teleaddiction) designed to extend treatment to rural and underserved areas and address the shortage of available medication–assisted treatment therapy.  According to Bright Heart Health “When opioid dependent patients are on medication-assisted treatments, health costs decrease by $20,000 annually.”   At the end of the day this is considered a better outcome.

OK so now you have jumped through all the hoops and the red tape to get your center ready for telemedicine.  You have filled out the necessary forms.  You have made sure your calendars are aligned with the therapists and doctors.  You have made sure that your EMR can support all the requirements necessary including integration with HIPAA compliant video sessions for individual and group therapies.  Everything is buttoned down.  Now what?

Next Steps for Addiction Treatment Centers with Telemedicine and Telehealth

Get all the policies and procedures down pat so there are no SNAFU’s and misunderstandings.  Go through the paperwork with the insurance companies and the state(s).

Go To Market TeleHealth and Telemedicine Organic SEO Plan For Drug Rehabs

You have a big opportunity in front of you right now.  You must start writing and publishing on your website about telehealth, telemedicine and teleaddiction.  You need to do this and do it now.  If you wait, other providers in your state will do it and you will be left behind.  It is harder to play catch up. If you want help with telemedicine addiction treatment SEO give us a call.  We can get you started with a SEO content program and rank your websites(s) very quickly since this is new green territory.  Contact us at Addiction-Rep for more information.

Get an EMR that is dialed in to next generation technologies and that can integrate with telemedicine and video conferencing like Banjo can without costing a fortune or taking 2-6 months for the next feature to come out.  Unfortunately, everything is changing and changing rapidly.  Change can be messy and uncomfortable however, at the same time if you embrace change there can be a lot of opportunity in change.  The devil is in the details and planning.

Addiction Treatment Telehealth Providers Who Take Insurance

EHome Counseling Group & Companies  (In 47 States)

TeleDocHealth – Behavioral Healthcare

Recovery Delivered – Focused on Opioid Addiction (Insurance Pending)

180 Health Partners with StrongWell (For Pregnant Women)

Doctors on Demand

MD Live

Rethink My Therapy

TalkSpace

TeleHealth Training Companies

Telehealth.org – 21st Century Behavioral Health Strategies

SAMHSA – Telehealth Training and Technical Assistance

American Telehealth Association

TeleHealth Platform Providers

iTherapy – Online Tools for Psychologists

Terra Health Solutions – TeleHealth Video Enabled Addiction Treatment EMR

Avera Ecare – Advanced Telemedicine Technology

TeleHealth Legal Links

Epstein Becker and Green –  Telemental health has gone mainstream. Also referred to as “telebehavioral health,” “e-counseling,” “e-therapy,” “online therapy,” “cybercounseling,” or “online counseling,” telemental health is the provision of remote mental health care services (using modalities including videoconferencing, computer programs, and mobile applications) by a variety of different mental health providers, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists.


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Jim Peake

Jim Peake – Jim has over 30 years of direct response advertising marketing experience. He was the catalyst for putting the Internet in the front page of every newspaper around the world for the first time with the chess event Grandmaster Garry Kasparov vs. IBM’s Deep Blue super computer in the mid 1990’s. Jim’s main area of focus today is helping drug and alcohol treatment centers market their businesses in a hyper competitive market.

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