Hi, my name is Anang and I've been a physical therapist for nearly 20 years. Today we're gonna talk about how to provide digital patient care by enabling remote therapeutic monitoring. When you share your MedBridge program digitally and enable R T M, you get more insight into your patient's progress and can build a stronger relationship because you're getting more touch points with your patient.
Traditionally, when your patient comes in for their evaluation, you set them up with a home program and set their goals for their rehab, but you don't necessarily get any updates on the patient's progress until their next appointment, especially when you give them their program as a printout. But when you share the program digitally, MedBridge helps you monitor and understand your patient's progress outside the clinic walls.
Your patient's exercise activities are tracked, they can send messages, and answer surveys between visits. This gives you more insight into their progress so you can make updates and have a more meaningful conversation at their next appointment. It's a powerful tool to help you inform your clinical decision making and improve your therapeutic relationship.
And we’ve seen that this leads to more engagement with patients - they stay involved in their episodes of care longer and are more satisfied.
You may already be assigning programs digitally and tracking your patient’s progress. But as of last year, new billing codes have been introduced by CMS that allow you to be reimbursed for monitoring your patients and providing remote treatment. So, not only are you providing your patients with a better experience, but you can also be reimbursed for your time.
RTM is a 3 step process - you first need to enroll the patient. Then, while the patient engages with their program, you can provide remote support and treatment. And finally, at the end of the month, you’ll be able to submit for reimbursement.
The RTM billing codes correlate to these steps in the process. Before we dive into each code, there’s something unique about these codes. You’re probably used to codes where you bill for services on the same day, and bill for 15 minute increments once you’ve done at least 8 minutes of activity, or more than 50% of the time period.
The RTM codes are unique because instead of looking at a 15 minute period, you’re looking at a 30 day period. You’re still looking for more than 50% of the time period, so you’ll look to bill once 16 days of activity occur within a 30 day period.
Let’s look at how each works.
- The first code is 98975 and it refers to the enrollment step. This reimburses you for the time you spend onboarding your patient to RTM, setting expectations and educating them about the program. Once you’ve done that and the patient has had access to their program for 16 days in a 30-day period, you can submit for reimbursement using 98975.
- The next two codes are 98976 and 98977, and they refer to your patient’s engagement. They work the same way, but 98976 is for monitoring respiratory status and 98977 is for monitoring musculoskeletal status. With either of those codes, you bill for these once your patient has recorded 16 days of activity within a 30 day period. An activity can be performing an exercise, answering a survey, or sending and receiving a message, amongst other things.
- The final codes are 98980 and 98981. These refer to the time you spend providing remote treatment to your patients. We’ll learn more about treatment later, but activities you might perform include messaging your patients, updating their program, or reviewing their activity.
- These codes vary from the other because they are billed once you’ve spent 20 minutes of time monitoring your patients in a calendar month. For the first 20 minutes, you bill 98980. For each additional 20 minutes, you can bill 98981.
- There is one other requirement - you need to perform at least one interactive communication with the patient in that calendar month, such as a phone call, telehealth call, or face-to-face time not billed as part of your in-clinic time.
As I said, you may be performing some of these activities already, which is great because now you can get reimbursed for that time. But more importantly, patients appreciate this level of care. When they know you’re working with them between visits and tracking their progress, they’re more invested in their recovery and form a stronger relationship with you.
So now that we understand what RTM is, in the rest of this course we’ll look at how to use the MedBridge platform to perform remote therapeutic monitoring.