During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth services went from an optional service to a necessity in order to be able to reach and treat patients. The concept of telehealth is not a new one. It was developed during the early 1960’s by Nebraska Psychology Institute in order to assist psychiatric patients. In 1993 the American Telemedicine Association was formed. It is believed that 8 out of 10 practices are currently using or actively implementing telehealth services. Using this service allows for providers to stay connected with patients while they were on lockdown or could not risk their health to come into the office for a visit. Those who have little to no experience with this form of healthcare, knowing how to start the credentialing process to incorporate this into their practice model may seem a little intimidating.

telehealth credentialing

Like any other provider enrollment processing, licensing is the key component. It is imperative to remember that physicians or other practitioners need to have a license in the state that they are practicing in, which means where the patient is located at during their telehealth visit. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was passed in 2020, allowed for some temporary changes to occur with Medicare credentialing requirements. Some of these temporary changes allowed patients to connect with their provider through an app or smartphone. Another temporary change was to waive some of the provider enrollment requirements involving the location of the patient. Understanding and keeping up with the temporary changes and time frames can be confusing.

Another interesting component that can help with telehealth and the credentialing process is the Medical Licensure Compact. It is important to understand what the Medical Licensure Compact is and how it applies to your telehealth services and practitioners. This compact is an agreement that involves twenty eight states that are working together to allow practitioners to practice in any of those states. It is imperative to track out-of-state licensing dates so you don’t run into any gaps or penalties. This compact was in place prior to the pandemic.

One thing is for certain, telehealth is here to stay. Being able to see and hear your patient via internet or smartphone is the safest solution while we are still battling this pandemic.