Telehealth for Pediatrics
Welcome to the Georgia AAP Committee on Telehealth Resource Hub
The Chapter’s Committee on Telehealth seeks to advocate for and provide resources to support telehealth services for Georgia’s children and their families. To that end we wish to receive your questions, comments, and concerns with regards to the access and delivery of telehealth services. Any questions with regards to delivering of or reimbursement for telehealth services will be shared with the Committee members for response. Please allow 72 hours for a reply. Also please be sure to review previous posts of telehealth FAQs as your question may have already been posed to the committee for a response. Lastly, please be sure to review our resource section for additional information.
Are we able to do a telemedicine appointment if the child and parent are not in the state of Georgia and the child becomes ill ?
Yes, during COVID, many states have waived the requirement and are allowing telehealth if you have a valid license in at least one state. Click here for more.
Can a physician take a call from their home?
Yes, restrictions have been lifted during the public health emergency.
Can consent be obtained by email stating that consent will be presumed for telemedicine services unless notification is received by practice that consent is denied?
In other words, consent is presumed unless withdrawn by active notification by patient to the office. Verbal consent is acceptable during the public health emergency.
Do you have any resources for teaching parents how to check respiratory rate, or links to what a barking cough sounds like, etc.?
Please review our telehealth 201 webinar recording, which covers the apps and resources to assist you with this question.
How do you do a medically necessarily follow up if the patient must initiate the visit?!?
Catch-22!! The intent of the rule appears to note that you are offering telehealth as an option, but not the only way to access care. The patient cannot be forced to do a telehealth visit. A service that needs to be patient initiated is telephone care (99441-99443) and online digital E/M service (e.g. portal). Telemedicine which can be reported with 99212-99215 does not have to be patient initiated.
How often do you need to obtain telemedicine consent? Once per year?
Yes, written once per year but verbal with each encounter. Must verify that they understand this counts as an encounter to which copays and deductibles will apply.
If you do a televisit and then the very next day the child must come into the office for the same chief complaint, does that void the televisit?
No. If there was an in-person visit 7 days before or within 24 hours after for the same type of problem you cannot bill for the telehealth visit.
To establish clear symptoms for flu diagnosis, you need to do a visit of some sort. This seems like pushing low quality care at some point. We need to be careful that this does not swing the other way. Telemedicine should not be low quality care. Why do we want to make it that way? Telemedicine is what you make it. If you see the child and you have concerns, end the visit and have them come into the office or refer them to the appropriate place if you are closed.
What about telehealth and weight checks?
Babies discharged from the NICU or NN with g-tubes, NG tubes, feeding issues, etc. may be prescribed a baby scale for home use at discharge.
What are your thoughts on how long insurers are willing to provide parity for telehealth care visits when incidence of COVID-19 cases begin to improve?
The earliest expiration dates are May 31st, some are June 30th and Medicaid has not put an expiration date yet. Most will track the length of the federal Public Health Emergency, which is to end in July, unless extended.
Can you add 99051 if you do telemedicine after your usual business hours?
Can you bill for a telemedicine visit if you decide during the visit that they need to be seen in person?
You can bill for either the telehealth visit or the in person visit if they come in that same day.
Could you extrapolate a face to face visit to a Telemedicine visit in terms of using the 99214 code? Or it must be the 99213 all the time?
Recommend basing visits on MDM, not time. ADHD visits with problems with sleep, allergies etc., become a 99214. Document at least 5 systems in your physical exam. One item from each system counts as that system being addressed. However, remember that only 2 of 3 are needed for established patients and therefore, the exam may not need to be counted. If you can get a detailed history and MDM of moderate complexity, you may report a 99214.
For an audio only visit, do we bill the same E&M codes as with audio/video visits?
For GA Medicaid FFS & CMOs the answer is yes. For commercial insurance, the answer is no. Audio only should be 99441-99443 based on total time. (Phone codes require total time only not start and stop times)
Is it necessary to add start and stop times if you bill based on MDM?
Yes, one of the requirements for any telehealth visit is to document a start and stop time regardless of medical decision making (MDM). You can use the following template to prompt you to document correctly (cut and paste to your EMR)
Telehealth Visit HPI
VERBAL Consent to conduct the visit via telehealth was obtained.
Name of person(s) on phone:
*If using time to determine level of service do not forget to include a time statement [>50% of (insert total time) minute visit was spent in face to face discussion about [condition]…)
COVID-19 Screening: patient/parent reports no travel or known exposure to COVID-19 in the past 7 days, no fever, no SOB, no cough, no nausea, or vomiting
Is there a code for chart and record review without face to face contact with patient in preparation for a telemedicine visit? thank you.
If you spend 30 minutes or more, you may look to the non-direct prolonged services codes (99358-99359).
Time: often face to face can be relatively quick if try to keep eye contact during telemed visit and visit. After visit, it takes time to document in EHR. Can you add this to visit time when billing? No. However, as of Jan 1, 2021 the time codes for E/M visits changes and plans may have adopted the more relaxed definitions already. Be sure to get the change of policy in writing. Click here for more.
It is not the documentation time to bill for, it is the chart review and lab and report review before placing the telemedicine communication. Is there a code for preparation for the telemed contact? If you spend 30 minutes or more, you may look to the non-direct prolonged services codes (99358-99359).
Is there a max code you can use? Can we use a 99215 if visit was longer or more complex?
Yes – same as face to face, report the E/M code that supports the level of care or time. You may even use prolonged services (99354-99355)
If your usual telemedicine vehicle (ours is AmWell) has a technical failure, is it acceptable to continue on FaceTime if possible, and if so, can you bill it as a telemedicine visit or does it become a phone visit for billing purposes?
Non-HIPAA compliant technology is temporarily allowed during the public health emergency. However, you must document that you informed the patient it may not be secure and obtained their consent to use that platform.
The following sample documents can be downloaded and modified to fit your practice needs:
AAP Telehealth Policy
- Nonemergency Acute Care: When It’s Not the Medical Home (May 2017)
- Operating Procedures for Pediatric Telehealth: AAP Endorsed (April 2017)
- Financing of Pediatric Home Health Care (March 2017)
- The Use of Telemedicine to Address Access and Physician Workforce Shortages (July 2015)
- Telemedicine: Pediatric Applications (July 2015)
- Health Information Technology and the Medical Home (May 2011)
Telehealth News Items
- The party is winding down: States and insurers resurrect barriers to telehealth, putting strain on patients
- Four Telehealth Changes After the Pandemic
- Will Telehealth Continue After the Pandemic?
- GAO Tells Congress to Wait on Expanding Telehealth Coverage Past the Pandemic
- Pandemic’s telehealth advances will be lost if Congress doesn’t act
- What parents think of virtual visits
- Make Medicare and Medicaid telehealth coverage permanent
Telehealth - Submit your comment, question, or concern:
The Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is incorporated in the state of Georgia.