Using Telemedicine in the time of COVID-19

Telemedicine has increasingly been in the news recently. It refers to the practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other. Modern technology has enabled doctors to consult patients by using HIPAA compliant video-conferencing tools to care for acute issues, follows ups and counseling.

I have been practicing telemedicine for the last 4 years and am grateful we have this tool easily at our fingertips in this time of crisis, where we can use such new methods of healthcare to manage patient care and limit both patient and provider exposure to such a serious threat.

Latest news: “EXPANSION OF TELEHEALTH WITH 1135 WAIVER: Under this new waiver, Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth across the country and including in patient’s places of residence starting March 6, 2020. A range of providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, will be able to offer telehealth to their patients…The provider must use an interactive audio and video telecommunications system that permits real-time communication between the distant site and the patient at home.”

What does this mean? It means Medicare will reimburse physicians at the same rate of an office visit, for a televisit. They have also removed the need for HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform, so you can use your personal phone to facetime, whatsapp facetime, or skype with your patients. You would code using the same CPT codes, but add the place of service modifier 02. So please, do not risk your patient’s exposure, or your own, and implement these tools to manage your patients immediately.

While these particular waiver lifts are for Medicare specifically, many private insurance companies are following suit and offering similar reimbursements.

If you are looking for more established telemedicine platforms, a few companies are offering free trials of their platforms; or bluestream health.

Many large telemedicine companies are overwhelmed with patients requesting telemedicine consults and could use your help. Currently, the license restrictions have been lifted nationwide, allowing you to see patients in states you are not licensed as well. For anyone who has additional time or interest, please reach out to Teladoc, American Well, or Doctor on Demand for opportunities to get involved.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in learning more about telemedicine, please enroll in this informative masterclass using the link below:

Please stay safe during this global pandemic. We are all united together in this fight.

Follow the five and practice social distancing to help flatten the curve!

Stella Gandhi, MD
YPS President

Apollo’s HealthNet and AAPI signed an MOU to Help Underserved in India

(Chicago, IL. August 18, 2019) American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic Medical Association in the United States, harnessing the vast potential of over 100,000 Indian American Physicians, has made significant contributions towards addressing several issues affecting the healthcare system in India through its annual Global Healthcare Summit held across the cities in India.

During the groundbreaking 13th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) held in Hyderabad from July 21st to 24th, AAPI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the HealthNet Global Limited (HNG) – a company owned by Apollo Hospitals Group, with the objective of delivering virtual second opinion consultations to millions of Indians in the vast rural areas of India, where they are unable to get required medical care.  

Dr. Suresh Reddy, President, AAPI, added, “It is our love for our motherland, India that brings us to India every year at this annual Global Healthcare Summit. Among other many achievements of the GHS 2019, we are very happy with this collaboration with Apollo Hospitals. It is a great opportunity for all the Indian-origin physicians living in the US to serve the country of their birth.”

Speaking about the MOU, Dr. Prathap Reddy, Chairman and Founder, Apollo Hospitals Group, and President of Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO), said, “This collaboration will provide people across the country access to the best specialists of Indian origin residing in the United States. This collaboration is another example of our continuous endeavor to provide affordable and best healthcare services to people across India.”

As part of the collaboration, AAPI members will deliver free virtual consultations to the underserved rural population of Indian states like Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states where HNG has a presence. The collaboration would also enable patients to seek second opinions from distinguished doctors based in the United States of America for complicated clinical problems and procedures.

 “As part of our collaboration, HNG will connect AAPI members with the underserved rural population through Medeintegra – our flagship telemedicine platform. People across the country will also be able to access the profiles of all the AAPI physicians through our App to seek consultations and second opinions and make informed decisions about their healthcare needs. Our collaboration is another initiative to use the latest technology to meet the healthcare needs of the people of India,” said Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group.

HNG provides integrated solutions and services for connected health and continuum of care through remote healthcare services. HNG is owned by Apollo Hospital Group and provides Remote Healthcare to country.

Dr. Sanku Rao, Past President AAPI and Past President GAPIO commented, “This collaboration will connect AAPI doctors to reach out to patients thousands of miles away using the boon of technology overcoming the geographical barrier.”

“According to the latest data available, the patient to doctor ratio is 1:1,600 and virtual consultations would be a boon to the Indian society at large. Telehealth has revolutionized healthcare delivery and in today’s time, it is nor more an option rather a necessity,” said Dr.Ravi Jahagirdar, Past President of AAPI.

“This collaboration is poised to pave the way for several other collaborations to meet the growing healthcare demands of the people if India,” added Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group.

It was in 1983, that Dr. Prathap C Reddy made a pioneering endeavor by launching India’s first corporate hospital – Apollo Hospitals in Chennai. For 35 years, the Apollo Hospitals Group has continuously excelled and maintained leadership in medical innovation, world-class clinical services and cutting-edge technology. Its hospitals are consistently ranked amongst the best hospitals in the country for advanced medical services.

Now, as Asia’s foremost trusted integrated healthcare group, its presence includes over 12,000 beds across 71 Hospitals, 3300 Pharmacies, over 90 Primary Care clinics and 150 Diagnostic centers, 110 plus Telemedicine Centres, over 15 medical education centres and a Research Foundation with a focus on global Clinical Trials, epidemiological studies, stem cell & genetic research, Apollo Hospitals has been at the forefront of new medical advancements with the most recent investment being the commissioning of South East Asia’s very first Proton Therapy Centre in Chennai.