Telemedicine Malpractice Insurance
We can help you find a medical malpractice insurance policy from an A-rated carrier that will cover your telemedicine services. We help:
- Owners of telemedicine practices
- Physicians that offer part-time telemedicine services
- 1099 contractors
- Physicians that are employed by telemedicine practices
Contact MEDPLI to get your telemedicine malpractice insurance today.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the practice of delivering medical services via telecommunications – this includes over the telephone, or over video calls with data encrypted tools. Most telemedicine appointments consist of the doctor consulting with a patient over telephone or video, then diagnosing and prescribing a treatment.
Telemedicine is great for many healthcare services, such as:
- Follow-up Visits
- Chronic Disease Management
- Preventative Care
- Assisted Living Center Support
- Treating patients during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Important facts you need to know about practicing telemedicine
- All telemedicine patients must be in states where the physician is licensed and authorized to practice medicine*
*Due to COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus, certain restrictions have been lifted. These relaxed restrictions apply to telemedicine. If you are not licensed in the state where the patient is located:
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Coverage has issued the following waiver for Medicare patients: “Temporarily waive requirements that out-of-state providers be licensed in the state where they are providing services when they are licensed in another state. This applies to Medicare and Medicaid.”
- As part of emergency declarations, many states have relaxed licensure requirements related to physicians licensed in another state and retired or clinically inactive physicians. Your state board of medicine or department of health will have the latest information as it applies to COVID-19 and your ability to treat patients.
- The Federation of State Medical Boards is tracking executive orders related to licensure: http://www.fsmb.org/advocacy/covid-19/
- CMS has expanded access to telemedicine services to Medicare beneficiaries, not just those that have novel coronavirus, during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. In addition to existing coverage for originating sites including physician offices, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals, Medicare will now make payments for telehealth services furnished in any healthcare facility and in the home.
- Regarding COVID-19, generally patient claims alleging negligence related to COVID-19 are covered, but it’s important to check your insurance policy’s existing terms and conditions.
- The amount providers are reimbursed for telemedicine varies depending on the state’s legislation. Some states require that private payers reimburse the same amount for telemedicine as if the service was provided in-person. However, most states with reimbursement requirements leave this determination up to the payers. Most private payers reimburse at levels equivalent to in-person visits.
- Patient data transmitted over the internet during telemedicine appointments is subject to HIPAA regulations, requiring telemedicine services be conducted over encrypted technology platforms. Video services like FaceTime or the free version of Skype do not meet this standard, but Skype for Business does.
- Medical malpractice policy pricing for telemedicine varies by specialty, scope of professional services, patient volumes, hours per week, state, and carrier. An insurance broker can help you find the right policy for your situation.
Foreseeable Benefits & Risks
The Doctors Company gives us a rundown of the upfront benefits and risks of telemedicine:
- Increases access to care for most patients, including many patients in rural locations, patients who struggle to cover the peripheral costs of an in-person visit (transportation, childcare, time away from work, etc.), and patients with chronic conditions.
- Enhances the ability to manage chronic conditions by making more frequent contact easier. This management is already supported by at-home devices that record blood pressure, blood sugar, and other essential data points.
- Reduces infection risks, not just for COVID-19, but for post-op patients, patients who are immunosuppressed, etc.
- The remote exam’s inherent limitations mean physicians must know when to ask patients to come in to avoid missed diagnoses.
- Increases cyber liability, especially when providers are seeing patients from a variety of devices in a variety of locations.
- Privacy issues come in high-tech forms: Is the video visit interface HIPAA compliant? And in low tech forms: Conversations may be interrupted by household members at either end.
- Decreases access to care for some patients: Half of U.S. seniors do not have internet access. On the other hand, some hospitals serving low-income populations have found that when remote visits are available via mobile device, and don’t require a computer, a surprising number of patients can access telemedicine visits. That said, many communities do not have sufficient internet bandwidth; some patients are prevented by a language barrier or lack of technological savvy from accessing a telemedicine portal.
- Reimbursement is uncertain: Pre-pandemic, “Low reimbursement for telehealth was viewed as a critical disincentive,” say the authors of an opinion piece in JAMA, because “Without payment, it would be difficult for clinicians to afford to provide the service, despite data from previous studies suggesting clinicians were broadly supportive about its use.”