It’s official, the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) has been declared over as of May 11, 2023. For telehealth providers, this also means adjusting to certain policy changes by August 9, 2023.
As a physical therapy clinic owner, you need to understand how these changes will impact your clinic and how you can navigate the transition effectively. This overview of the upcoming telehealth changes offers some guidance for PT clinic owners in our post-COVID world.
What Changes to Expect with Telehealth Post-COVID-19
Differential Treatment of Telehealth and In-Person Care
Following the end of the PHE, telehealth will no longer be treated equally. Reimbursements for telehealth services will return to pre-pandemic levels. It’s important to evaluate the financial implications of this change and reassess your pricing structure.
Reinstatement of In-Person Exam Requirement
The in-person exam requirement, waived during the PHE, will be reinstated. This means that patients who began their treatment remotely during the PHE will need to have an in-person evaluation before receiving certain medical treatments. Consider developing a plan to smoothly transition patients from remote care to in-person visits and explore collaboration opportunities with local providers for patients unable to visit your clinic.
Cessation of Copayment Waivers
After the PHE ends, copayment and deductible waivers for telehealth services will no longer be allowed. Review your billing and collection processes to ensure compliance with these changes and develop effective mechanisms to communicate and collect copayments from patients receiving telehealth services.
Limitation of Remote Patient Monitoring Services
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) services will be limited to “established patients” once the PHE ends. This means that before providing RPM services, you will need to conduct new patient evaluations and management services. Incorporate these requirements into your scheduling and patient management protocols to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of care.
End of HIPAA-related Enforcement Discretion
Providers will be expected to comply with HIPAA regulations regarding technology usage after August 10th, 2023. Take care that your telehealth platforms and software are HIPAA-compliant to avoid potential fines or penalties. You can also seek guidance from our PT practice coaching program to ensure your clinic’s technology infrastructure meets the necessary standards.
Changes to Occur after 2024
Beyond 2024, specific telehealth flexibilities will remain in place, including coverage of mental health services, reimbursement for audio-only sessions and eligibility for certain providers to deliver telehealth services. Stay informed about these ongoing changes to optimize your clinic’s offerings and revenue streams.
Ensure Success with Business Coaching and HIPAA Compliant Virtual Front Desk Technology
Navigating these telehealth changes can be challenging. Our business coaching program, MEG Academy, is here to support you. We offer personalized guidance on adapting your clinic’s operations, financial strategies and patient management protocols to meet the evolving telehealth landscape.
Additionally, MEG’s Virtual Front Desk solution provides a comprehensive platform to streamline administrative tasks, enhance patient communication, and optimize revenue generation. Our Virtual Front Desk offering is HIPAA compliant and designed to handle your patient registration, appointment scheduling and insurance reauthorizations. Just because telehealth policies are changing doesn’t mean technology can’t still be an integral part of your business.
Adapt to a Post-COVID World of Physical Therapy Ownership
As a physical therapist clinic owner, understanding and adapting to the upcoming telehealth changes is vital for the long-term success of your practice. Embrace the opportunities presented by the evolving telehealth landscape and leverage the guidance and support of our business coaching program to navigate the transition effectively.
By staying ahead of these changes, you can position your clinic for continued growth, profitability and excellent patient care in the post-COVID era.