How can COVID Virtual Visits be Billed? - UPDATED

Question: How can COVID-19 Virtual Visits be managed and billed in Connect Care?

Context: As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, physicians need to shift as much patient interaction as possible to "virtual care". This can allow isolated physicians to continue to participate in care. Additionally, avoiding patient visits to clinics and emergency rooms may blunt virus spread among patients and staff. Physicians are asked to convert as many follow up outpatient visits as possible to telephone consultations in order to maximize social distancing. Some of those encounters may require use of Virtual Care supports made available to AHS physicians. These telephone and televideo encounters have new provisions for professional billing claims.

Answer: A previously used code, HSC 03.01AD (with health condition code ICD 079.82 or 079.8) is reactivated for immediate use to support COVID-19 related patient interactions. The claim can be used provided that the patient interaction (via telephone, teleconferencing, virtual health) is:
  • Providing care related to COVID-19
  • Providing care for any condition when the physician or patient is in isolation.
  • Limited to one claim per patient-physician combination per day.
  • Can include advice, prescription management.
  • Documentation of the encounter is required.
  • Communication must be with the patient or patient's agent.
  • Must relate to actual care and symptoms, not providing general COVID-19 information that can be gleaned from publicly available sources.
  • Not to be used for Health Link communications or services.
Unfortunately, this 03.01AD code is calibrated for short interactions and, if used, precludes use of other virtual care codes. HSC 03.05JR (physician to patient telephone advice), HSC 03.01R (physician to physician secure communication), 03.01S (physician to patient secure electronic communication) remain available. HSC 03.01T (physician to patient secure video conference) is under discussion to open its availability for the virtual care technologies appropriate to the current pandemic.