“It's pretty apparent that if physicians are not going to be reimbursed properly for telehealth, they're not going to use utilize it,” says Lisa J. Finkelstein, DO, FACOS.
At the 2023 American Urological Association Summit, Lisa J. Finkelstein, DO, FACOS, and Kara L. Watts, MD, presented 5 key points for urologists to discuss with legislators regarding telemedicine. The second point was payment parity, which Finkelstein discusses in this video. Finkelstein is medical director of telehealth at St. John’s Health, Jackson, Wyoming.
This is really crucial. It's pretty apparent that if physicians are not going to be reimbursed properly for telehealth, they're not going to use utilize it. And that would be very, very unfortunate for patients since we now know that telehealth works, and works really well for many, many reasons. Having that as a priority for [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] and for private payers, so that they understand really what goes into a telehealth visit [, is important]. I think in the beginning, we just thought that it was doing a Zoom visit or taking our cell phone and sitting in a closet and giving advice to patients. And we now know that in order to do an adequate, really robust telehealth visit, that it still requires staff and front desk [personnel] and medical assistants or nurses to get the charts together. We still need to have a facility; it's not that urologists are getting rid of their buildings. We still need to have the ability to bring patients in. And so if we lower the reimbursement rate for telehealth, that will be really detrimental for urologists to continue to use telehealth.
This transcription was edited for clarity.