Telemedicine Update July 2021
Great news about telemedicine: most insurance companies have extended coverage for telemedicine services!
Telemedicine coverage was expanded in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Originally, this was meant to be a temporary measure, but this expansion has been extended several times. What this means is that more services are available to you via video conference, and your insurance may pay for those services. This coverage was previously limited to certain specific circumstances, but this service is now available more broadly. Starting in 2020, providers have even been able to initiate care with new patients via telemedicine.
Yes, I’m offering telemedicine
I will continue to offer telemedicine services moving forward. If you have insurance coverage which covers telemedicine services, I will bill them for it. This service is also available if you do not have insurance coverage.
Telemedicine is a great option for my style of naturopathic care. We can review your symptoms, discuss lab options and results and review treatment plans easily by telemedicine. A physical exam can be an important part of your care. If this is required, we can discuss options such as seeing your primary care provider, going to urgent care or coming into my office.
Who should schedule telemedicine?
Anyone for whom this method is more convenient! Telemedicine is available for any patient located in the state of Oregon and can be scheduled for any reason. If you live outside of Oregon, please contact me by phone before scheduling a telemedicine appointment.
Telemedicine will be the default method of care for patients who have or have been exposed to COVID-19, are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or have acute respiratory symptoms. If you are having respiratory symptoms, I recommend you see your primary care provider or urgent care for assessment prior to a telemedicine appointment with me.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine visits are essentially a video visit held via a HIPAA secure encrypted Zoom session. Telephone appointments are not the same as telemedicine. I generally do not offer appointments via telephone.
If you schedule a telemedicine appointment, you will receive a link in your confirmation and reminder emails which you can click to join our secure zoom session. I recommend you have your phone nearby. If you are not logged onto the appointment within about 5 minutes, I will call you to help troubleshoot and get you on the conference.
What about insurance?
Of the insurance companies I am in network with, Cigna is the only company which is no longer covering telemedicine services. However, because insurance plans may vary, I always recommend that you call your insurance company to ensure that your visit will be covered if there is any doubt.
Most insurance companies have stated that telemedicine will be covered until further notice or “until the end of the current health crisis (COVID-19 pandemic).” Providence is a notable exception in that they have an end date on their telemedicine policy of 12/31/2021. That may or may not be extended again.