Maintaining Patient Care, Billing, & Payments During Uncertain Times
COVID-19 has quickly changed healthcare in the United States. Practices are seeing more patients through telehealth, billing requirements have been adjusted, and billing & payments are taking place almost exclusively online.
A lot of changes are happening all at once. Here are some of the most important things you need to know as you adjust to social distancing requirements and providing care during a global pandemic.
Understand your telehealth options
Simplify online billing & payments
Set up payment plans
1. Understand your telehealth options
Whether you’re new to telehealth or are an expert who’s used it for years, there are a lot of new expectations to digest.
To sum up:
Previous CMS and HIPAA regulations have been relaxed
Medicare deductibles and co-insurance generally still apply to virtual services
PCI compliance is NOT suspended during the current crisis
Starting March 1 and lasting throughout the national health emergency, Medicare will pay physicians for telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits. This applies to all diagnoses, not just COVID-19 services.
Virtual services fall into three categories: telehealth visits, virtual check-ins, and e-visits. A telehealth visit is considered the same as an in-person visit and will be paid at the same rate as an in-person visit for all cases. These visits should include both audio and video, if possible.
A virtual check-in is a brief communication (5–10 minutes) between the patient and provider, which can be conducted using a variety of technology mediums, usually telephone or video. Through the duration of the public health emergency, patients are not required to have a prior relationship with their provider to have a virtual check-in.
An e-visit is a patient-initiated visit and is available for both established and new patients.
HIPAA regulations have been relaxed somewhat to allow greater flexibility for virtual visits. HHS will waive penalties for HIPAA violations against providers who serve patients in good faith through everyday communication technologies like FaceTime and Skype. Exercise caution in using these tools, though, because spammers are targeting them aggressively during the current healthcare emergency.
Even with these relaxed requirements in place, providers must still do their due diligence to make sure patient information is protected. For more information on virtual visits and HIPAA requirements, see the CMS website and their COVID-19 FAQ page.
2. Simplify online billing & payments
During a global pandemic it’s more important than ever to generate revenue so you can keep providing valuable services. With many billers working remotely and no-touch payments being encouraged whenever possible, billing & payments are moving online.
Sending billing statements to patients you’re seeing virtually doesn’t have to be complicated. With BillFlash you can either send a pre-visit charge to a patient—which allows them to pay online prior to a telehealth visit—or send them an eBill Notice online that same day.
Patients can then SelfPay their bills at any time on MyProviderLink.com. They can quickly pay without registering with our simple Guest Pay option, or they can register and save their information to be used for future payments.
3. Set up payment plans
The economic impact of COVID-19 has already been devastating for a lot of people. During these uncertain times, patients may not be as able to pay their bills in full. To accommodate patients’ needs and ensure you’re still getting paid, set up payment plans to help patients pay off larger bills. Monthly payments can be adjusted according to the patient’s needs and are easy to change later to accommodate new circumstances.
Learn how BillFlash helps secure your practice's financial stability with automated patient billing & online payment options
BillFlash is here to help you manage your practice remotely and ensure you’re getting paid throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on how BillFlash can help your practice stay financially healthy, visit BillFlash.com.
“Providers that use BillFlash ePay services have noticed a 60% increase in patient payments within the first 30 days.”
- D. Jackson, Prestige Billing
NexTrust offers BillFlash Patient Billing and Payments Services now with integrated collection services that allow practices to send patients to collections based on rules they define in the BillFlash system.
For more information or to see a demonstration, contact NexTrust at