Virtual reality: More insurers are embracing telehealth

cold-and-fluBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama resisted paying for most telehealth services for years after their introduction. The insurer, which holds a near-monopoly of the state’s commercial market, had cost concerns about the still-evolving technology that electronically connects patients with doctors and other clinicians.

There wasn’t even a clear definition of what qualified as a telehealth visit.

Should doctors submit a telehealth claim for every patient phone call? Should real-time video visits be the primary catalysts for payment? Should telehealth be used mostly for primary-care treatments such as ear infections and colds? Should it include more specialized care like psychiatry?

“What is the definition of telemedicine?” asked Doug McIntyre, vice president of network operations at BCBS of Alabama. “People struggled to really tell us what that is.”


About Peter Coffaro 1148 Articles

A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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