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Telehealth at Dana-Farber

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  • FAQ About Telehealth

    What is telehealth?

    Telehealth refers to the use of technology to deliver clinical health care and supportive services from a distance. With telehealth, providers and patients will be in two different places for the visit. Telehealth options may include phone and video visits, or online communications. You may sometimes hear telehealth referred to as virtual visits.

    Why are we utilizing telehealth now?

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are using telehealth resources when medically appropriate. This helps keep our patients and providers safe by reducing the number of people gathering in our clinic spaces, thereby reducing the risk of infection spread. Your care team will determine if your appointment is appropriate for a virtual visit.

    What are some tips for preparing for your telehealth visit with your provider?

    If your provider determines an upcoming appointment is appropriate for a virtual visit, a member of your care team will reach out to set this up. You will receive instructions on using the relevant technology.

    Below are some helpful tips to help you prepare for a virtual video visit. Video visits can be done from a computer equipped with a web cam, from a smartphone, or from a tablet.

    • In most cases, you will need to download a video software application. We will send you instructions for how to do this. Please download the application in advance of your appointment.
    • Verify that you have reliable internet access.
    • We recommend re-starting your computer shortly before your visit to maximize bandwidth.
    • Choose a private location that is quiet and free of distractions. Consider using headphones with a microphone to enhance the audio of your visit.
    • Have access to your telephone (either home phone or cell phone) and your provider's phone number in case you get disconnected or are unable to participate in the video visit.

    As you would for an in-person visit, prepare your questions for your provider in advance, and have your medications with you. You may include family members and caregivers in your virtual visit by sharing the link (for a video visit) or phone number (for a phone visit).

    As always, we are committed to your privacy, so we work to ensure that all of our virtual visits are encrypted and fully comply with HIPAA security standards to protect your patient data.

    FAQ About Telehealth Billing

    Will my health plan cover costs for my telehealth (virtual) visit? How will I be charged?

    Health plans have expanded coverage for telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Coverage for these visits is similar to in-person visits: PCP referral and co-pay requirements may apply, depending on your specific health plan. However, some health plans are waiving copays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket payments for patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Check with your health plan to learn more.

    Dana-Farber financial counselors are available to assist you with questions about your health plan. Call them at 617-582-9820. Information is also available on Dana-Farber’s insurance and financial information webpage.

    Can I pay in advance for multiple telehealth visits?

    No. Prepayment for visits is not possible at this time. You will need to submit any required payment or copay after each successfully completed telehealth visit.

    How can I pay for my telehealth visit?

    As with your in-person visits, you may be billed for any telehealth copays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses after your health plan has processed your claim. You can pay by phone, mail, or electronically through Patient Gateway. Major credit cards and personal checks are accepted.

    Can I use my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for telehealth expenses?

    In most cases, yes. Most copays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses for medical services are eligible expenses for most HSAs or FSAs. However, we recommend that you confirm eligible expenses with your employer or health plan.

    What if I think I’ve received a bill in error or have a question about my bill?

    Please call Customer Service at 617-632-3795, or toll-free at 866-408-4669.

  • How to Prepare For a Virtual Visit

    Here are some additional tips for preparing for your telehealth visit with your oncologist.

  • Patient Gateway for Adult Patients

    If you are not already signed up for our online patient portal, please take a few minutes to enroll in Partners Patient Gateway. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, we may ask you to conduct certain appointments online, by phone, or via videoconference. Some of these options require enrollment in Partners Patient Gateway.

    In addition, Patient Gateway can help you keep in touch with your doctor's office online. Through Patient Gateway, you can send electronic messages directly to your doctor, view your test results and schedule appointments, refill your medications, and more. To get started, visit Partners Patient Gateway, and click on "Enroll Now."

  • Download this helpful tip sheet: "How to Enroll in Partners Patient Gateway"