Max Schloemann, Founder and CEO of MEDPLI, was recently interviewed by AM Best TV about his thoughts on telemedicine, telemedicine’s future growth, and what its growth means for insurance providers and physicians.
“[Telemedicine] has been gaining traction now for probably the last 5 years,” Max advises when asked if telemedicine is gaining in popularity with doctors and patients. “More and more people are adapting to the new technology, and with COVID in 2020, it’s been a real banner year for [telemedicine’s] growth.”
Max acknowledges that there may be a dip in telemedicine’s popularity once the pandemic has subsided, but that it will not go away.
Max also discusses the challenges health insurers may face with the advent of telemedicine, and what doctors need to recognize about their medical malpractice coverage.
“From a medical malpractice insurance standpoint, it’s required that doctors still be licensed in the states where the patient is located. Even though there are waivers right now during the pandemic, I don’t know how that’s going to shape up. There may be some changes with the way that doctors obtain licensing across state lines.”
You can watch the full interview with Max Schloemann at AM Best’s website or read the full transcript below.
For information about how MEDPLI can help with medical malpractice insurance for telemedicine, please contact us or request a quote.
John Weber: Telemedicine, once considered something of a novelty, is becoming an essential medical tool in this time of pandemic. I’m John Weber for A.M. BestTV. I’m speaking today with Max Schloemann, CEO/Broker at MEDPLI Insurance Services. Max, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.
Max Schloemann: Thanks for having me, John.
John: Max, is telemedicine gaining in popularity with doctors and patients?
Max: Absolutely. It’s been gaining traction now for probably the past five years or more. More and more people are adapting to the new technology.
With COVID in 2020, it’s been a really banner year for growth of telemedicine, for obvious reasons, with the pandemic, people being stuck at home, not wanting to get out and potentially expose themselves and others. I think that that trend is just going to continue.
John: You mentioned COVID. Do you think its popularity will wane once we’re on the other side of the COVID pandemic?
Max: I think there is a potential to see a dip at least, once we get all the vaccines rolled out and it’s less and less of a concern to be in public around others, but I don’t see it going away. I do see it continuing to increase.
It’s especially practical for urgent care type cases. There are some limitations, which we can talk about, but I think that it’s got a lot of potential to continue to grow.
John: Max, what’s the challenge for insurers when it comes to telemedicine?
Max: There could be some potential liabilities that it opens up the doctor and the insurers to, in that you can’t physically lay hands on a patient through a screen. That limits the physical. That’s one of the major points I would like to make, is it’s a supplement to traditional face to face medicine, not a game changer altogether.
It’s not going to replace the traditional doctor patient face to face in person with a physical exam just because of the limitations of not being physically present.
John: There’s been some suggestion that telemedicine could be an opportunity for billing fraud. Do you go along with that, Max?
Max: I could see that as a potential, but I think that there’s always potential for billing fraud. Unfortunately, there’s people with motives that are greed. That’s unfortunate. It’s the nature of the beast. I think the nice thing about telehealth, it’s all recorded. I think that there’s potential to also crack down on any kind of fraud. You weigh it. It could go either way.
John: What does the insurance industry need to do as telemedicine continues to evolve?
Max: My specific area of expertise is medical malpractice insurance, so I can’t really speak to the health insurers that are going to be looking at the billing and that sort of thing. From a medical malpractice insurance standpoint, it’s required that doctors still be licensed in the states where the patient is located.
Even though there are waivers right now during the pandemic, I don’t know how that’s going to shape up. There may be some changes with the way that doctors obtain licensing across state lines.
John: Where do you see telemedicine headed?
Max: I think it’s going to continue to grow. Post surgery care, those sorts of follow ups, I think it has tremendous value. It has tremendous value with behavioral health and just general check ins, but I don’t see it ever replacing the face to face.
I have a lot of doctors that would agree that they miss having their office and their patients, but you can’t argue with the convenience, the cost effectiveness, the efficiency, and just the availability for the care to be delivered to a broader spectrum of patients.
In rural areas, there’s only so many specialists and providers available for these isolated populations. With the growth of broadband Internet and 5G coming to market this year, it’s, I think, only going to extrapolate.
John: Sure is an interesting time when it comes to technology. Isn’t it, Max?
Max: It sure is.
John: Max, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.
Max: Yes. Thank you, John.
John: That was Max Schloemann, CEO/Broker at MEDPLI Insurance Services. I’m John Weber for A.M. BestTV.