Corona Pandemic Telemedicine

Tele Dental Consult

More on working from home during Corona Pandemic shutdown.

According to HHS the list below includes some vendors that represent that they provide HIPAA-compliant video communication products and that they will enter into a HIPAA BAA.

  • Skype for Business
  • Updox
  • VSee
  • Zoom for Healthcare
  • Google G Suite Hangouts Meet

Dentists may use one of these products, Zoom for example, to conduct a tele-consultation during the Corona Pandemic. If a patient contacts you during the shut down with an urgent complaint you can conduct a face to face consultation much as you would if the patient was in the chair. You cannot get a new radiograph or probe the tooth but you can get a good look at the area using the web cam and you can interview the patient regarding symptoms and history just as would in the office. You cannot get a new radiograph but you can look at existing radiographs, probing depths, treatment plans and health histories. All of this will allow you to make a preliminary diagnosis and determine a preliminary treatment plan. If it is a true emergency you can schedule the patient for an in office visit. More likely you can re-assure the patient and prescribe medication as indicated.

You can make notes in the chart, schedule if needed and e-prescribe.

What is more you can legitimately charge a fee for this service and expect insurance reimbursement under the emergency rules.

HHS has relaxed the rules regarding tele-medicine

In my state, Arizona, the Governor (Ducey) has issued an executive order expanding tele-medicine and mandating reimbursement. It reads in part:

  1. Beginning on March 25, 2020 and continuing for the duration of the Public Health Emergency, “all health insurance plans regulated by the Arizona Department of Insurance are hereby required to provide coverage for all healthcare services that are provided through telemedicine if the healthcare service would be covered were it provided through an in-person visit between the enrollee and a healthcare provider.”

If you have a robust technology system in place with complete digital records it is possible to work from home during the crisis.