Better Care, More Reimbursable Interactions with VCS for FQHCs & RHCs


Virtual Communication Services (VCS) can help Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) improve the quality of care by increasing the frequency and effectiveness of virtual interactions with patients. And now thanks to the 2019 CMS Physician Fee Schedule, VCS is a reimbursable service.

Effective January 1 of this year, FQHCs and RHCs can receive payment for Virtual Communication when at least 5 minutes of communication technology-based or remote evaluation services are furnished by an FQHC practitioner to a patient who has had an FQHC billable visit within the previous year, and both of the following requirements are met:

  1. The medical discussion or remote evaluation is for a condition not related to an FQHC service provided within the previous 7 days, and

  2. The medical discussion or remote evaluation does not lead to an FQHC visit within the next 24 hours or at the soonest available appointment.

Research from the Institute for Healthcare Communication has concluded that high-quality communication between care team members and patients has a positive influence on patient health outcomes. VCS is an opportunity to help patients help you, but the key to driving value (and reimbursements) is using the virtual solution that is most convenient for patients.

Patient portals and secure email are useful in sharing certain types of health information, but for most patients they are not a convenient means of quickly communicating with their doctors. Most consumers (patients and family caregivers) prefer text messaging on mobile devices. In addition, these older solutions do not identify communications eligible for VCS reimbursement.

The VCS solution you choose should help patients be as prepared as possible at every interaction with you and their care team. Imagine if your VCS technology could be used by a patient to send media (e.g., images, videos), text, and important data such as symptom severity and vitals logs before a visit. Your VCS solution should enable contact between visits and alert you when an important incident occurs so you can respond.

Care3 is an award winning collaboration platform for Community Health Centers that enables your FQHC or RHC to provide Virtual Communication Services and Chronic Care Management (CCM). Care3 has been proven to increase the number of relevant interactions between patients and the care team over time. Email us at or simply click the “Request A Demo” button to see how Care3 can help you deliver more, and higher quality care virtually.

FQHCs, RHCs, BlogDavid Williams