The answer to that question is IT'S NOT, if presented in the correct way. As medical organization build their business plan for a telemedicine program they are taking many factors into account. Factors such as physical equipment, management process, staffing changes, scheduling, insurance reimbursement and all around logistics of seeing patients in a new way. After looking at the big picture of implementing a telemedicine platform, we find that accepting payment for service is arguably the most important aspect. Mainly due to ROI (return on investment) being ultimately calculated by the amount of payment and reimbursement received.
Anyone who has been in pain or discomfort with no foreseeable end knows that at some point the cost becomes a non issue. That person would gladly self pay for a doctor consult from their couch or recliner instead of aggravating that discomfort to get to their providers office. If this self pay situation can then be put on a credit card to be paid off at their leisure, it becomes an even easier decision to utilize the service of a tele visit.
With that said, let's look at some factors for the medical provider to assess while doing the due diligence required to implement a telehealth program. These factors are in relation to having the ability of accepting credit and debit cards as payment for services. Primarily for co-pays or self pay patients.
Does my practice have a physical location?
Yes, this seems like an obvious question. However, this is sometimes the deciding factor on becoming an easily auto approved account or a pended in underwriting account.
Is the business owner a licensed practitioner?
When the business owner is a licensed provider with the credentials clearly stated in the underwriting process they become much less scrutinized.
Are the providers W2 employees of the business owner?
This question becomes increasingly more important when the owner is not a licensed medical professional.
Is the providing business and established business or a start up?
When receiving approval for credit card processing, no matter the business type, established business will go through much less scrutiny. This can also be combatted by providing the credit card processing history that is already in place from the business physical location.
What is our “return” policy?
Return policies are more important to a credit card processor than one may realize. If a business does not have a proper return policy that customers can trust then they open themselves up for excessive chargebacks. Chargebacks can be expensive and hurt a business credibility when wanting to accept payments. Having an ironclad return policy combats this challenge and shows the processor your willingness as a business to work for the customer.
Not all telehealth businesses can answer all of the questions correctly. Those factors make it easier to become an accepted processing business. However, they are not the end all if you cannot answer yes. Aligning yourself with a true processing industry expert is the key to having a seamless cost efficient credit card processing experience. The goal is to find honesty and transparency in a perceived broken industry.