Virtual care compensation review
The four Atlantic Provincial and Territorial Medical Associations (PTMAs) retained Deloitte to develop recommendations for virtual care compensation models in the region. The report, called Virtual Care Physician Compensation Review was delivered to the PTMAs in March 2021 and discusses best practices for virtual visits, remote consults, secure patient messaging, remote patient monitoring and e-consults for each key virtual care modality.
The report includes jurisdictional insights from across Canada and internationally, an overview and assessment of applicable compensation models, evaluation of recommended models, issues and considerations, a series of recommendations and a summary of health system and patient benefits.
Click here to read Virtual Care Physician Compensation Review.
Virtual care tool kit
Doctors Nova Scotia’s virtual care toolkit, Getting Started with Virtual Care: Everything you need to know to provide synchronous virtual care, provides information to help guide physicians along the virtual care journey. It can help you select the right virtual care platform and guide you through to implementation.
Click here to download Getting Started with Virtual Care: Everything you need to know to provide synchronous virtual care.
Your virtual care solution options
Zoom for Healthcare (“Stand-Alone”)
The Nova Scotia government has secured an agreement with Zoom, a company specializing in videoconferencing, to license any physician in Nova Scotia (as well as a member of their staff) to use Zoom for Healthcare at no charge for a one-year period.
Zoom for Healthcare:
- Delivers consistent, reliable, clinical experiences through reliable videoconferencing services
- Provides high quality video and audio
- Uses resources and hardware that physicians most likely already have in their practices
- Uses straightforward user management processes
- Meets Nova Scotia privacy and security standards
Click here to register for Zoom for Healthcare.
QHR Medeo (“stand-alone” or integrated with AccuroEMR)
Medeo is a solution that offers secure video visits, as well as online booking and secure patient messaging. It is available as a stand-alone product or it can be integrated with the QHR Accuro electronic medical record (EMR). Medeo is available for six months at no charge to Nova Scotia physicians.
It takes one to two weeks to be onboarded to Medeo. If you wish to be included in the queue, click here to complete the two-step online process.
Facetime, Skype or other “stand-alone” options
If you are using another stand-alone synchronous virtual care product, such as Skype or Facetime, it’s recommended that you transition to Zoom for Healthcare or Medeo. Both solutions are compliant with the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) in Nova Scotia.
TELUS EMR Virtual Visit (new) (Integrated with Med Access EMR)
The Telus Virtual Visit product is an encrypted, Med Access-integrated solution that enables seamless workflow, minimizes task redundancy and preserves continuity of care and documentation within your existing Med Access EMR. Conduct video calls, review patient records and take notes simultaneously.
This product is available free for the first four months when you sign up before May 31, 2020.
Click here to sign up.
Health Myself (integrated with Med Access EMR)
This product provides a convenient and Med Access EMR-integrated solution for patients and providers to engage virtually through video consults. It also allows asynchronous provider-to-patient messaging, online booking and automated appointment reminders. The video consult capability is undergoing final testing with physicians in Nova Scotia. This video consult feature will be available for free for four months to all new and existing Health Myself portal customers who sign up before May 31, 2020.
New Health Myself customers can sign up here.
Existing Health Myself customers can sign up here.
Virtual care fee codes
Most physicians can bill for all non-procedural services that are delivered virtually. You can bill what you normally would for an in-person visit, regardless of whether the care you deliver is done in-person or via the telephone, telehealth or any virtual care tool listed above. Simply include the following text on your claim to denote the mode of synchronous care delivery:
- If service was provided via phone call, use “Pandemic telephone”
- If service was provided over the telehealth network, use “Pandemic telehealth”
- If service was provided over a virtual care platform, use “Pandemic virtual care”
The fee codes for opioid agonist therapy, psychotherapy, consultations and counselling, geriatric and nursing home visits are all covered by virtual care.
Walk-in clinics that are not formally associated with the Nova Scotia Health Authority are not eligible for virtual care fee codes.
Details can be found in the March 24 MSI Physicians’ Bulletin.
All premium fees are also applicable. This is not stated directly in the MSI Physicians’ Bulletin, but Doctors Nova Scotia has assurances from the Department of Health and Wellness that premiums do apply.
A new health service code (03.03X) is also available to facilitate the provision of synchronous clinical care using technology that supports non-face-to-face encounters, such as care delivered using the telephone, the hospital-based telehealth network, Zoom for Healthcare, and other PHIA-compliant virtual care tools. This code is paid at the same rate as ME=CARE modifier for comprehensive primary care fee codes.
For physicians for whom the 03.03x code is more remunerative than the applicable in-person fee code, you can bill the 03.03x consistent with the terms as outlined in the March 18, 2020 MSI Physicians’ Bulletin.
Virtual care playbook
In March 2020, the Canadian Medical Association, in collaboration with the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada published Virtual Care Playbook to help Canadian physicians introduce virtual patient encounters (aka telemedicine) into their daily practices.
While not exhaustive, the playbook covers all key considerations to succeed at providing safe, effective and efficient care:
- Fitting virtual care into your practice workflow
- Technology requirements
- Scope of practice – what problems can be safely assessed and treated
- “Webside” manner
- The virtual visit from beginning to end