Beverly Healthcare has selected T-Med Behavioral to provide video telemedicine at their Virginia facilities

Fairfax 13 December 2004T-Med Behavioral has contracted with Beverly Healthcare-Virginia to provide Video Telemedicine services for both Psychiatric - medication and psych consults - services and face to face services for Psychotherapy. The programme, initially offered at Beverly Martinsville in Martinsville, Virginia and Beverly Shenandoah Healthcare of Buena Vista, Virginia, gives these facilities a full mental health programme to offer to their present and prospective residents.

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Beverly Healthcare is the second largest Nursing Home company in the United States. T-Med Behavioral is a contract services provider of mental health services to elderly facilities in the National Capital Area and throughout the states of Maryland and Virginia. With the addition of psychiatric medical services added to its original core business of psychotherapy services, T-Med Behavioral is now in the process of bringing its quality mental health programmes to many other states. Add to that the ability to use Video Telemedicine (VTM) for instant and convenient patient assessment, and T-Med Behavioral can now reach out to more facilities where these services are difficult, if not impossible, to acquire.

"By using our expanding Video Telemedicine facilities, T-Med Behavioral now can reach so many more residents who were underserved or lived in rural areas of the country. T-Med's clients can also make use of the telemedicine equipment to provide many other benefits to the facilities, their staff, their residents and the residents' families. The future is very exciting", noted company CEO, Zee L. Friedman.

T-Med Behavioral provides the entire spectrum of mental health services to Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Centers, and CCRC's as well as providing individual, group and family therapy, psychiatric consults, and medication review. Facilities with T-Med Behavioral providers have the advantage of the many services the company can provide to their residents, as well as assistance with facility care plans, MDS and other areas where T-Med Behavioral can make a positive contribution.

T-Med Behavioral has increased the total number of on site facilities it services by 15 percent during 2004. Additionally, T-Med has added 10 new VTM sites since the programme started in late September 2004.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued their final rule last month covering changes for the physician's fee schedule and Medicare coverage of telehealth services. The agency approved the addition of several CPT codes related to renal dialysis to the list of covered telehealth services. In addition CMS clarified the policy of reimbursing for non face-to-face services. Medicare will pay for non face-to-face patient services listed in the CPT code manual. This increased recognition and acceptance of telemedicine as a viable and practical health care delivery method has prompted T-Med Behavioral to expand the scope of their services accordingly.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated: "The use of an interactive audio and video telecommunications system, permitting real time interaction between the beneficiary, physician or practitioner at the distant site, and telepresenter, if necessary, is a substitute for face-to-face requirements under Medicare. Services not requiring a face-to-face encounter with the patient that may be furnished through the use of a telecommunications system are already covered under Medicare."

T-Med Behavioral's CEO, Zee L. Friedman commented that "The final ruling from CMS was better than expected. This ruling clarifies and opens up reimbursement for a host of medical services and does not limit us to providing these teleservices to rural settings or certain institutions as was the case in the past."


Leslie Versweyveld

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