With the onset of COVID-19 and self-quarantine practice, people around our state and around the country are being forced to stay home, and to become more independent with their daily activities. If you have noticed changes in your health, or that of a love one, that is impacting your activities of daily living or making it difficult to manage medications, this may be an indication that you can benefit from home health services.
To be eligible for home care services, Medicare requires a face-to-face meeting with your doctor, that he/she will use to sign a certification confirming you are home bound and in need of intermittent skilled care. This requirement may not be as much of a hurdle to arrange as you might imagine, since recently, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has broadened access to telehealth appointments. This allows patients to receive a broad range of services by phone and video from the comfort of their home, eliminating the worry about the spread of the virus they and their caregiver may be exposed to by traveling to an office appointment.
In order for the telehealth appointment to be approved, your physician must use an interactive audio and video telecommunications system that permits real-time communication with the patient at home. You can receive this via your smart phone or laptop, whichever is easiest for you to manage.
Use the same guidelines as you would for a normal office visit, to ensure this time is most beneficial to you, and you receive all the necessary information to move forward. Below are some helpful hints from Kevin Baran, MD, MPH, HMDC, Prohealth Physicians and Medical Director of McLean Hospice, to make the most out of your medical visit or call:
1. Prepare for the Call
- Write down any questions you have ahead of time and have them available, along with a pen and notepad
- Invite a spouse or caregiver to join in the call so they can hear the information first-hand
2. The Call
- Be relaxed and be honest
- Speak clearly and make sure you are heard
- Be punctual. This is an appointment the doctor has scheduled for you. Like any other appointment, be sure you are punctual, to receive the allotted time
3. Before Ending
- Be sure all your questions are answered and you understand your follow-up instructions and next steps. Repeat the follow-up to the doctor, to ensure you have understood them correctly.
- Don’t leave with uncertainty
- Ask for any signs you should watch for
- Obtain new prescription details
- Ask for alternative communication vehicles in case you have additional questions (phone, email, portal, letters)
After the appointment, it is a good idea to keep a journal of the discussion while it is fresh in your mind.
McLean Home Care & Hospice continues to provide award- winning care to those in the community who rely on them. Please call 860-658-3950 to learn more about qualifying for Home Care through a Telehealth visit with your practitioner.