COVID-19: Teledermatology Regulatory Updates To Better Serve You

by The DermEngine Team on May 4, 2020

COVID-19 has drastically transformed the way medical professionals are able to provide dermatology care to their patients. What are the top key things your practice needs to know in your mission to provide connected teledermatology/teledermoscopy services?

Supporting Your Patients
In April of 2020, Moshe Bressler, Dr. Daniel Siegel, and Dr. Orit Markowitz published an article titled “Virtual Dermatology:A COVID-19 Update“ highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on the dermatology industry.The article features how DermEngine and other dermatology software are supporting practices with their telehealth services. Here are a few ways DermEngine can support you and your patients:

  • Patient booking system
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Live video chats
  • Store and forward image submissions

The following is a summary of key developments in the dermatology in response to COVID-19.

1.Relaxed HIPAA Regulations: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has been temporarily reduced as part of federal emergency legislation to allow for medical professionals to use video calling software (among other systems) to connect with patients that would typically not be permitted.

2.Extended Out-Of-State Care: Medical professionals are able to provide out-of-state services for all types of care (not limited to COVID-19) for 13 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, and North Dakota. For the most recent updates visit

3.New Telehealth Expansion Laws: To promote social distancing, certain states are enacting temporary laws encouraging medical professionals to provide telemedicine services where possible. For example, if telehealth is a covered service, patients cannot be charged out-of-pocket. To access an interactive map of the regulations and reimbursement policies visit 

4.Available Teledermatology Options: Comprising roughly 20% of call cases seen by general physicians, dermatology conditions are often diagnosed based on visual characteristics, making them the perfect candidate for remote services.1 Teledermatology services can be divided into two categories:

  1. Store and Forward: The patient submits their overview (and sometimes dermoscopic) images to the care provider for professional review, where they will receive a report with the feedback.
  2. Live Interactive: The care provider uses a two-way video system to communicate with the patient regarding their concerns.

5.Modifier Billing Codes (US): The following billing codes are available to accommodate the growing number of telehealth cases:

Modifier GQ: Store & Forward Teledermatology
Modifier GT: Life Interactive Teledermatology
Modifier -95: For states with equal parity laws and/or those billing a commercial insurance payer 

It is important to note that Medicare does not require any further modifiers, and if the plan reimburses telemedicine services the same as a standard in-clinic visit the modifiers listed above are not necessary.

6.Billing in Canada: Many Canadian provinces have released updated measures to accommodate the growing number of telemedicine services in response to COVID-19. To view a full list of updates click here.

Final Thoughts
MetaOptima is dedicated to serving you, your staff and your patients with quality, connected teledermatology services.  If you’re looking to bring your practice online please do not hesitate to let us know- one of our experts will reach out to help you determine how we can get your practice up and running as quickly as possible based on your needs!

-The DermEngine Team

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