How to Access Telehealth Services During Coronavirus

With in-person doctor visits limited, here’s how you can still communicate with your provider about medication, symptoms, your mental health, and more.


As part of the national public emergency around coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have officially broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that “beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.” This means you can communicate with your doctors without trekking into the office or clinic.

What is Telemedicine?

Telecare can include a range of services, including:

  • regular communication with your doctor or nurse practitioner
  • clinical pharmacy evaluations to go over your medication and any risks, especially if you take a range of medications
  • specialty evaluations - for example, you can consult with an orthopedist for a post-surgical follow-up, or with a gastroenterologist to review symptoms or discuss pathology results
  • physical therapy sessions
  • telepsychiatry sessions.

In fact, psychiatrists are probably the most experienced with telemedicine, having used it for years to evaluate patients over the phone, to provide individual therapy for things like depression and PTSD, and to help people manage their medications. 

How Does Telecare Work? Will My Insurance Cover it?

Under the new CMS waiver, Medicare will pay for patients to have office, hospital, and other visits with their providers. Virtual communications may include:

  • audio or video evaluations and discussions:
  • brief virtual check-ins, or
  • e-visits, that is non-face-to-face communication through patient portals.

You do not have to already be a patient with a particular provider, or have a prior relationship with a provider's office, to use these services - new patients can use them too. Just be sure to double check with your provider before engaging in telemedicine services as you may need to a) give consent for virtual healthcare and, b) confirm that the service will be covered under Medicare or your regular insurance plan. 

Telecare can include a range of services from talking with your main doctor or nurse practitioner, reviewing medication with a pharmacist, having a virtual physical therapy session, or checking in with a specialist after a procedure or lab work. (Image: iStock)

If your health insurance is provided by a company other than Medicare, don't fret. Many companies are stepping up to relax rules and broaden coverage. AHIP has published a list of health insurance updates around coronavirus.


Providers and Clinics Offering Telecare

The following clinicians and offices are providing telemedicine services related to chronic pain conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to add to this list. 

National Pain Centers
Providing 100% telemedicine on spine, back, and chronic pain.
Spine and Orthopedic Pain Center, Norfolk, VA

Winifred Bragg, MD, is providing non-surgical care for acute or chronic spinal or orthopedic pain for those residing in Virginia or North Carolina.

Kansas Pain Management
Mayank Gupta, MD, providing advanced pain care

The International Pain Foundation has a list by state of support groups including those that offer telecare.

New York Spine Center (Dr. Tim Canty)
Types of pain they remedy:
Treatments used:

Mid America PolyClinic, Overland Park, KS
Srinivas Nalamachu, MD, is offering pain management telecare to existing patients.

Pharmacist Consulting Services, PLLC, and Remitigate Therapeutics
Providing telehealth consult regarding prescription regimens, medication risks, opioids, and more; note that your provider must request this service as the pharmacists are unable to speak to patients directly without provider consent.

Additional Resources

American Psychiatric Association: Center for Workplace Mental Health
Resources and blogs for maintaining mental health during COVID-19.

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
Family resources for helping homebound children and discussing coronavirus with your children and teens.

Tips for social distancing and isolation.

Support Groups for Pain
A look at how online communities can help and how to find one.



*Disclaimer: Practical Pain Management, a publication of Remedy Health Media, LLC does not, by publication of the advertisements or services contained herein, express endorsement or verify the accuracy and effectiveness of the products, services, and claims contained herein. Remedy Health Media, LLC disclaims any liability for damages resulting from the use of any product advertised or service noted herein and suggests that readers fully investigate the products, services, and claims prior to purchasing or use. 

Updated on: 06/17/20
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Facing Chronic Pain and Coronavirus