Although teleaudiology is not a unique service, the model has gained popularity as a safe and effective way to connect with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally designed for those who live in rural areas without access to care or those with limited mobility, it has now become a platform to serve all patients while practices implement social distancing measures and close their offices to non-essential appointments. Teleaudiology provides an opportunity to continue providing hearing health services and generate revenue when you cannot see your patients face-to-face.
WEBINAR – Opportunities Within Teleaudiology
Host: Dan Quall, MS, CCC-A, Director of Managed Care, Fuel Medical
Subject Expert: Rose DuLude, PhD, CCC-A, Director of Audiology, Fuel Medical
What Telehealth Services Can I Offer?
The best part of telehealth is that you can safely continue to support your patients on their journey to better hearing health. There are some services you can bill for and others you cannot.
If you could bill for a service before, then you may be able to bill for it now. Check your commercial insurance contracts. If you have a private pay patient and are unbundled, you can charge for the service as if they were in the office. If you are bundled, then those services were likely paid for with the initial purchase.
Unfortunately, if you couldn’t bill for it before, you cannot bill for it now. There are no codes to bill for services through CMS, and there are no online diagnostic tests. Some Medicaid and CHIP plans have flexibility, but that is different in each state. If you’re working with a third-party administrator, they will each have their own process in place for telehealth.
There are several platforms that can now be used for telehealth appointments, including telephone, apps and video conferencing. If you have not yet tried remote programming, your hearing aid manufacturer reps are a great resource for training and support.
What Other Ways Can I Generate Revenue Without Seeing Patients?
There are several ways to generate revenue without seeing your patients face-to-face. The best way is to give them a call and check in on them and find out how you can help. Visit our page of revenue-generating ideas.
What Do I Talk to Patients About?
The first thing you should do is determine what programs and products you want to make available to patients as well as your pricing strategy for each. Keep a list of all those options, so they’re available at a glance while you’re on the phone with patents. Once you create your protocol, train all staff who will be involved. Next, start your database mining and prioritize the patients you want to call first and what services you will be offering to them.
When you call a patient, the first thing you should ask is, “How are you doing?” From there, you can ask more discovery questions, like ”A lot of my patients are watching a lot of TV right now and are finding that the TV streamer has made a big difference for them. How are you doing with the TV?” You will find out a lot just by asking questions. Your Fuel Medical Regional Manager has call scripts if you would like more direction.
Database Segments to Call
- Patients who tested for a hearing loss in the last six months but did not schedule an HAE
- Patients with older technology who may be ready to upgrade
- Patients with warranties about to expire
- Patients who have not come in recently for a clean-and-check or repairs
- Patients who recently purchased but might consider an ALD or accessory to better hear at home
Visit our page of revenue-generating ideas.
If you feel uncomfortable calling patients, then watch this video with tips on how to overcome your call aversion.
Do I Need to Obtain Consent for Telehealth Services?
Depending on the state you are licensed in, you may need consent to move forward with telehealth services. You can get verbal consent from your patients as long as it’s documented. Consent should include patients’ rights and responsibilities, benefits, constraints and risk—ultimately, it waives the responsibility of the practice if something goes wrong. However, written consent is always the most compliant option.
You can visit ASHA’s State-by-State policies page or Center for Connected Health Policy for information about your state’s telehealth-related laws and requirements. Contact your Fuel Medical Regional Manager if you would like a consent form created.