Video Visits With Patients Can Now Boost Your Bottom Line

Neil Chesanow


August 06, 2013

In This Article

How Much Can You Earn?

"Reimbursement varies from state to state for MDLive physicians," Parker says. "The average visit with our doctors lasts 11 minutes. That's time spent with the patient. It doesn't include time spent reviewing the medical history before connecting with the customer. It averages about $30 per visit, and the average physician can do 4-5 visits per hour."

Doctors who work directly for MDLive can log onto the system at any time if they have a spare hour, or they can sign up for a scheduled shift. "We generally have 4-hour shifts," says Parker. "Compensation varies, based on the state a physician practices in and how many covered lives we have in that state."

A physician can earn around $140 an hour, "with the understanding that every state will be different," Parker says, adding, "It's more difficult to get a physician in Alaska than it is in New York."

Coding? Billing? Not Your Concern

Telehealth vendor American Well doesn't employ physicians directly. "You wouldn't go to American Well to see a physician," Schoenberg, the CEO, explains. "We deliver our system to large insurers. They are the ones operating the telehealth services. So you would go to NowClinic for the UnitedHealth Group or LiveHealth Online for WellPoint, two of our clients. Each large payer has its own name for it, but it's essentially our technology under the hood."

Under the hood "is a massive, real-time, supply-and-demand management system that allows the physician from his or her home on, say, a Friday morning, to log onto the system and say, 'I'm here for the next hour. That's it. I have an hour.' And the system will take advantage of that physician's availability and allow eligible patients to see that physician. Eligibility, state licensure, product definition, network definition, scope of coverage, deductibles -- all that is taken into account by the system, which will then direct eligible patients to your 'online waiting room.' See those patients, and you are immediately remunerated."

Remuneration consists of a copay and reimbursement for the CPT code used for the work performed, just as it does when you see a patient in your office who has the same insurer.

"All of the collection, the claims submission on your behalf, happens in the background," Schoenberg says. "You don't need to do anything. We do the verification of real-time eligibility, of whether the credit card is in good standing. We put a hold on the amount of the copay or the full transaction, depending on who the patient is. We do everything to the point of depositing remuneration into the bank account that you specify when you enroll. All that is done without you having to deal with it."

"It goes even further," Schoenberg continues. "We even produce full-blown malpractice insurance coverage for you for each transaction. Even if you're working in a practice and you want to do telehealth, you don't need to worry about whether your practice malpractice coverage will cover your telehealth transactions. You don't have to buy coverage in advance. It actually gets generated per transaction."

If you're already credentialed by a participating insurer -- a requirement to use the American Well or any telehealth system -- you can start seeing that insurer's members via videoconference online in as little as 1 week, Schoenberg says.


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