TIP: When using outsourced telehealth services, be prepared to “Mind the Gap.”
Telehealth services are a great resource for covered entities who want to grow their program’s footprint with minimal investment, allowing them to quickly add patient volume without investing time and money into marketing and provider onboarding. Most tele-specialty services bill covered entities on a per patient basis, constituting a fee upon patient sign-up and a monthly service charge. However, how the tele-specialty vendor defines patient sign-up is key. Often, vendors charge the initial fee as soon as a patient enrolls and has an at-home lab test kit sent to them. However, if the patient does not return the kit or complete a telehealth visit, the covered entity ends up paying the sign-up fee while receiving no 340B benefit.
These “gaps”, either with patients not returning lab kits or completing telehealth visits, must be “minded” to avoid unnecessary costs. Savvy covered entities, or those with super savvy 340B consultants😉, can create patient outreach programs to complement their tele-specialty services. By performing outreach, covered entities assist patients with lab kit questions and remind them to return their kits and to schedule their telehealth visit. Thus, “Minding the Gap”, with a solid patient outreach program, ensures covered entities get the most bang for their buck when contracting with tele-specialty vendors.
Robert Ferraro is Chief Pharmacy Officer at Ravin Consultants. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org