AnnouncingUnified Virtual Visits
Introducing Unified Virtual Visits– We’re excited to announce the launch of a new feature from Unified Imaging: Unified Virtual Visits. The new Unified Virtual Visit tool allows you to offer provider-to-provider & provider-to-patient virtual visits through our HIPAA compliant platform. Set up safe, secure, and simple Virtual Visits with your referring providers & patients at the click of a button. Once your Virtual Visit is complete, documentation for reimbursement is immediately available for download to your local computer, for quick access when you need it.
Is your head spinning as quickly as ours? This sudden shift has been a shock- leaving health care providers scrambling to adjust. Remote care has moved from a nice-to-have to must-have in a matter of weeks. Fortunately, the codes and tools you need to thrive in this new reality already exist today– they just need to be implemented.
What Qualifies as a Virtual Visit?
A virtual visit can take place in a couple of different venues. It can be a phone call, a video chat, or through the secure sharing of images/videos from a patient through a platform like Unified Imaging. Documentation is required for the visit to be reimbursable, and you can see different codes and scenarios outlined below. Virtual visits can be both a provider-to-provider consult & and provider-to-patient consult.
Provider-to-Provider Virtual Consults
Have you ever needed to get a tertiary care opinion or connect with another provider about a recent patient?
In 2019, a number of codes were added or modified involving Virtual Consults, performed by telephone, video chat, or secure patient sharing through a platform like Unified Imaging. These codes allow 2 providers from different practices to collaborate on a patient chart without the patient being seen by the consulting clinician. There are codes for the requesting provider & the consulting provider. Reimbursement varies depending on the length of the Virtual Consult.
One code exists for the REQUESTING provider to use irrespective of how the consultant provides opinion:
|99452||Interprofessional telephone/Internet/electronic health record referral service(s) provided by a treating / requesting physician or other qualified healthcare professional||30 minutes||$37|
One code exists for the CONSULTING provider to use when verbal communication with the requesting provider is not part of the consult:
|99451||Interprofessional telephone/Internet/electronic health record assessment and management service provided by a consultative physician, including a written report to the patient’s treating/requesting physician or other qualified health care professional||5+ minutes||$37|
Four codes exist for the CONSULTING provider to use when verbal communication with the requesting provider is included in the consult:
|99446||Interprofessional telephone/ internet / electronic health record assessment and management service provided by a consultative physician including a verbal and written report to the patient’s treating/ requesting physician or other qualified healthcare professional||5-10 minutes||$18|
|99447||Interprofessional telephone/ internet / electronic health record assessment and management service provided by a consultative physician including a verbal and written report to the patient’s treating/ requesting physician or other qualified healthcare professional||11-20 minutes||$36|
|99448||Interprofessional telephone/ internet / electronic health record assessment and management service provided by a consultative physician including a verbal and written report to the patient’s treating/ requesting physician or other qualified healthcare professional||21-30 minutes||$55|
|99449||Interprofessional telephone/ internet / electronic health record assessment and management service provided by a consultative physician including a verbal and written report to the patient’s treating/ requesting physician or other qualified healthcare professional||31+ minutes||$73|
Dr. Smith diagnoses CRVO w/ 20/20 BCVA in a patient. OCT images and photos are obtained. Dr. Smith tentatively plans to see the patient back in 1 month for re-evaluation but decides instead to enlist the opinion of a local Retinal Specialist. Dr. Smith makes the patient aware of financial considerations and obtains informed patient consent. Dr. Smith shares the OCT and fundus photos shared through Unified Imaging with the Retina Specialist. The Retina Specialist accepts and views the patient’s images/results.
Scenario 1- No Verbal Communication
Retina Specialist and Dr. Smith do not verbally communicate, but the Retina Specialist sends a summary of recommendations in written form (either outside of Unified Imaging or within), providing a virtual consult to Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith codes 99452 for an approximate reimbursement of $37.
Retina Specialist codes 99451 for an approximate reimbursement of $37.
Scenario 2- Verbal Communication
Retina Specialist and Dr. Smith engage in some form of verbal communication (telephone or video consult) to discuss the patient’s case where the Retina Specialist provides opinions and recommendations, and also sends a written report to Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith codes 99452 for an approximate reimbursement of $37.
Retina Specialist codes 99446–99448 based on the amount of time spent for an approximate reimbursement range of $18-$73.
Provider-to-Patient Virtual Visits
Collaborating with other HCPs is a small part of the virtual equation. Offering virtual consults to patients is probably the most common type of consult in this time of extended social distancing, remote work, and stay-at-home orders.
The exchange of photos/images with patients or live video/telephone calls with patients qualify as virtual visits.
A new HCPCS code was introduced in 2019 to provide coverage for the remote evaluation of images from a patient. While the reimbursement is modest, it’s better than what doctors are receiving for providing these services now (free):
|G2010||Remote evaluation of recorded video and/or images submitted by an established patient (e.g., store and forward), including interpretation with follow-up with the patient within 24 business hours, not originating from a related E/M service provided within the previous 7 days nor leading to an E/M service or procedure within the next 24 hours or soonest available appointment||$13|
With Unified Virtual Visits, web uploads and live chats are built into the system. Patients can connect through the Unified platform upon receiving an invitation from their provider. No registration is needed on the patient side. This allows a patient to send a picture of their eye needing consultation (red eye, styes, etc.) directly to their provider to see if a visit is needed. If a visit is not required, G2010 would still cover the clinician’s time spent reviewing the image.
Code G2012 was added in 2019 to provide reimbursement for “Virtual Check-Ins”:
|G2012||Brief communication technology-based service, e.g. virtual check-in, by a physician or other qualified health care professional who can report evaluation and management services, provided to an established patient, not originating from a related E/ M service provided within the previous 7 days nor leading to an E/M service or procedure within the next 24 hours or soonest available appointment||5-10 minutes of medical discussion||$15|
While video-based interaction isn’t a requirement, asynchronous communication is not allowed. Thus, any internet-based chat would need to occur in real-time. This is the differentiator between G2010 and G2012, and a great reason to utilize the Unified Virtual Visits feature.
Finally, traditional office visit codes in the range of 99201–99215 can be provided remotely as telehealth services through the use of “02” as the place of service on the claim. Since these codes are based not only on case history and medical decision-making but also physical exams, real-time video capabilities are nearly imperative.
|99201||Office/Outpatient Visit new patient||$46|
|99202||Office/Outpatient Visit new patient||$77|
|99203||Office/Outpatient Visit new patient||$110|
|99204||Office/Outpatient Visit new patient||$167|
|99205||Office/Outpatient Visit new patient||$210|
|99211||Office/Outpatient Visit established patient||$23|
|99212||Office/Outpatient Visit established patient||$46|
|99213||Office/Outpatient Visit established patient||$75|
|99214||Office/Outpatient Visit established patient||$110|
|99215||Office/Outpatient Visit established patient||$148|
Documentation remains one of the few constants in this new virtual reality. The requirements for virtual visits are the same as in-practice visits:
- information of the visit
- patient history
- review of systems
- a note about the telehealth nature of the visit
- any notes/information used to make a medical decision.
If you’re using a platform like Unified for your virtual visits, an encrypted and time-stamped chat can be downloaded alongside a recording of the visit, simplifying the documentation requirements.
If you’re a current Unified Imaging user, you can take advantage of our new Unified Virtual Consult feature today. Pairing our technology with these already approved Virtual Visit codes will allow you to immediately offer excellent care to your patients in a HIPAA compliant system with ease. Any photos or video chats recorded during a visit can be saved to your local computer, and is immediately available as proof of documentation. Utilizing telehealth to offer remote care to your patients is made simple with Unified Virtual Visit’s enhanced documentation efficiency and HIPAA compliant platform.
Frequently Asked Questions
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