Telemedicine Services and Workers’ Compensation in New York

Telemedicine and telehealth services are currently being reviewed and discussed by the state board for chiropractic.  However, you may currently perform telemedicine for injured workers in need of timely help.

The New York State Workers' Compensation Board has issued Subject No. 046-1278 on an emergency basis.  This amendment provides for limited Telemedicine Services to assist in New York’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Doctors of Chiropractic are included in the list of authorized treating providers who may render telemedicine services. 

The goal of this important addition is to continue to enforce social distancing, while allowing New York's injured workers to continue to receive certain necessary services.   The NYSCA extends our thanks to the WCB on behalf of New York’s injured workers and our patients.  The NYSCA is also in communication with ChiroUp to bring you additional Telemedicine resources in the form of a one-hour webinar.

Although this rule will note be published in the State Register until April 1, 2020, the rule is effective for 90 days beginning March 16, 2020.

The text of this amendment is below as it relates to doctors of chiropractic.  The first paragraph outlines the requirements and application of telemedicine.  The later notes the inclusion of chiropractic and methods for billing for the service. 

Section 325-1.8 of Title 12 NYCRR is hereby amended to read as follows:

325-1.8 Emergency medical aid and telemedicine.

(a) In the event of a serious accident requiring immediate emergency medical aid, an ambulance or any physician may be called to give first aid treatment.

(b) Telemedicine, using an interactive audio and video telecommunications system that permits real-time communication between an authorized medical provider and a claimant in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, may be used by authorized providers where medically appropriate for social distancing purposes due to the outbreak of COVID-19 to assess current disability status. “Medically appropriate” includes discussion of test results or imaging, follow-up assessments, or counseling.  It does not include treatment where physical examination is a necessary component, such as initial visits or assessments, physical therapy or other types of manual therapy. The authorized provider shall indicate on their report that such assessment was done using telemedicine as a result of social distancing due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

A new subdivision (c) of section 348.2 of Title 12 NYCRR is hereby added to read as follows:

(c) Authorized chiropractors shall use Common Procedural Technology (CPT) code 99441 (telephone evaluation and management services provided to an established patient; 5-10 minutes of medical discussion) when telemedicine is used in accordance with section 325-1.8 of this Title, notwithstanding this code not appearing in the Official New York Workers' Compensation Chiropractic Fee Schedule. Use of this code is limited to one unit per patient per day.

According to the WCB, ‘This amendment is adopted as an emergency measure because the Board wants to avoid health and safety risks that can be avoided through social distancing due to the outbreak of COVID-19, by allowing telemedicine in some circumstances.’

The NYSCA is currently exploring to what degree this same patient-centered approach to care can be applied to major medical, Medicare, and other types of patient care.  For now, telemedicine is available for your Workers Compensation population.

Be well, be safe, and continue to utilize evidence-based practices as you continue to care for New York’s injured workers.

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