Teledermatology (Virtual office visits)

Teledermatology is the use of audio/video capable technology (such as FaceTime or Skype) to complete an office visit remotely from your own home. In order to minimize patient and staff exposure to COVID-19, we will be implementing the use of this visit type whenever possible.

Topics covered below include:

  • Insurance providers confirmed to cover teledermatology visits
  • Conditions requiring an in-office appointment
  • Virtual Visit – How to prepare, What to expect

Insurance providers confirmed to cover teledermatology visits through early June 2020:

Health insurance providers are gradually responding to this unique emergency situation by expanding their coverage of remote medical visits – they are to be covered by insurance in the same way that a typical in office visit is covered. The only limitation is that patients must be established (seen within the past 3 years) by a practitioner at Dermatology PC. There may be an exception to this in the future, but for now we will adhere to this rule.

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Tricare
    • Telemedicine services are subject to the same authorization and referral requirements that apply to in-person medical services. Visit our Prior Authorization, Referral and Benefit Tool to view current approval guidelines.
  • Private payers
    • Aetna
    • Cigna
    • Coventry
    • HealthPartners
    • Humana * unclear * May only cover urgent care – contact insurance to verify!
    • UMR
    • UnitedHealthcare
    • Wellmark
  • If you do NOT see your specific insurance provider on this list, please contact them directly to verify coverage of this service if you are interested in pursuing this option
  • f you have specific questions about how this coverage works, please contact your insurance provider.

Dermatologic conditions requiring an in-office appointment:

  • An actively painful, growing or bleeding lesion concerning for skin cancer (we will ask that patients first communicate by email and include a well-focused photo taken in good lighting in order to first confirm whether this can be managed as a remote visit or in-office).
  • A large painful cyst or abscess that potentially requires drainage or injection.
  • A known skin cancer, diagnosed by recent biopsy and already scheduled for an excision (if this site is NOT melanoma, is small and without pain or active growth, and is not on the face, it is likely safe to postpone your procedure until a later date and specific questions about this can be addressed by our staff).
  • Other dermatologic conditions may be seen in office, but are advised against for high risk patients (those over 65, particularly with other significant health problems)
  • We do advise postponing routine annual skin checks with no specific active concerns.

Virtual Visit – How to prepare, What to expect

  • Consent:
    • Prior to proceeding with a teledermatology visit, all patients must complete the Telehealth Consent, which you may download in our patient information tab, patient forms. You may sign and then scan or take a photo and email the signed consent to our office. (If you are unable to send the consent via photo or scan, you may instead hold your signed consent to the screen at the start of your visit, then mail to our office).
  • Ensure you have audio-visual capable technology
    • Skype – you need to set up an account (can be used on android phones, iphones, tablets or desktop/laptop computers).
    • iPhone / iPad with FaceTime capability
    • If you do not have access to this technology or are not comfortable managing this on your own, you may of course request assistance from a friend or family member deemed to be a safe contact.
  • Scheduling – contact our office to schedule these visits, and they will coordinate the following:
    • a specific time for the physician component of your visit
    • confirmation of insurance and contact information
    • testing of your audio-visual communication method
  • Verifying medical information and the reason for your visit with our nursing staff
    • our nursing staff will contact you prior to your visit to verify your medical history, medications, allergies, etc. are up to date in our records
    • Your concerns will then be discussed specifically as the final step prior to your virtual visit