by Amy Cavas Bridges
The American Medical Association recommends that physicians charge for real non-face-to-face telephone interaction with patients. According to the organization, this is an acceptable method of providing care. Dr Hertz, AAP Chairman of the Section on Telehealth Care and a practicing pediatrician in Ohio said in a recent article that "Pediatricians need to make sure their patients understand it is the AMA recommending they charge for real non-face-to-face advice and that it's a standard and acceptable method of providing care." He also said that “the calls that can and should be charged are ones that last more than five minutes and where a substantial amount of care is given in place of an office visit.”
Dr. Hertz is also the author of the following book on telephone triage medicine: Pediatric Nurse Telephone Triage: A Companion to Pediatric Telephone Protocols. (AAP book, ISBN 978-1-58110-530-8, published on 2011-01-01). This book is designed to help practices triage calls effectively and improve patient outcomes. It provides some great practical, how-to-do-it guidelines that make it an ideal staff training and skills-building tool. In addition, it provides clinical recommendations for common pediatric problems.
The following article from the website Pedsource discusses current trends in billing patients and the recent experiences from physicians that have billed patients for phone telephone care.