FAQ

Common Questions from Parents and Providers

How much will this cost?

Without insurance, an Ahana visit is $75.00. The cost with insurance depends on your insurance provider. We will bill insurance first and then only your out of pocket costs will be charged to your credit card.    

What’s the age limit?

The upper age limit for children to be seen here is 21 years old.

Who are the providers?

You can see our list of providers here. We are all Montana pediatricians who believe that the children of Montana deserve the best access to care no matter what time of day it is or where they are located.

How does it work?

It’s so easy! You (the grown-up) create a login, and when you need a telemedicine visit you can request a visit for that child on the website.  Once you’ve created an account, you add the child that needs care along with your insurance and/or credit card. You request a visit and BAM! you’re connected to a pediatrician with one click. The pediatrician will offer their advice and make sure your primary care provider is notified of the visit.

What insurance is accepted?

We strive to accept all major insurance providers and Medicaid. We will work with you after the visit if your insurance doesn’t pay toward your visit with us.  

What if I am sent to the ED after my telemed visit?

While telemedicine increases what we can do for you from afar, there still will be times when we are worried that your child needs to be seen in person to make sure they are safe or have all of the right tests done. Similarly to when you see a doctor in clinic, there are times when she or he needs to refer you to a specialist or send you to get more studies or urgent care. 

If we recommend that you seek in-person care, we will communicate that clearly with you and we will help you understand why we think that. We want you to have a productive and thoughtful visit for your child.   

How will you communicate with my PCP/medical home?

If you child’s doctor is a part of our network, they can log in. They can leave us any information about your child that think may be helpful, and they can see exactly what happened during your visit with us. If your provider is not a part of our collaborative, we will reach out to them the day after your visit to offer a copy of the note and any suggestions the Ahana doctor had for them.  

What if I am unsatisfied with my care?

Please tell us so we can do better. We know that technology can be frustrating and we are all humans trying something new together. You can go to “Contact Us” on the website at anytime to tell us your thoughts or worries. If you leave us your contact information, we will call or email you back to learn more from you.  

What if I cannot pay the credit card charge?

We ask for a credit card to make paying for your out of pocket costs easy. Being able to charge your credit card keeps our costs low and helps keep healthcare costs lower for all of us. However, if you do not have a card that will work or can’t afford the care, you are able to get to a visit without putting in this information. We will follow up with you to make a plan for payment that works well for your family and your life.   

What if I am unsatisfied with my medical home? Can you refer me elsewhere?

We want children to have the best possible care, and we want you to have a great relationship with your providers. We do not make referrals to providers, but we would encourage you to talk to your child’s doctor or find someone with whom you feel comfortable.  

What if I lose service/connection during the call?

We ask for a phone number on your way into the visit for this exact situation. The provider will call you on the number you give them if the web-based visit isn’t working. If you lose connection and you are worried about your child, please seek care in your community or with your doctor however you would have if Ahana was not an option.  

What if I do not have a PCP?

We really believe in the value of a primary care provider for your child and being seen in Ahana isn’t a replacement for that. We would encourage you to search your community for a provider who sees children and get to know them.  

Will I be able to see the note sent to my provider?

We send all notes that are written during a visit on Ahana to your child’s doctor. As with all of your medical records, you have the right to see all notes about your child’s medical care and can request those through your primary care doctor. If they are unable to make those available, you can request a note directly from us. 

What times and days of the week is this telemedicine opportunity available?

Our goal is to make sure that families with medical concerns are never alone in Montana, but as we get started our hours are limited to a few hours per day. Please see the website for updated hours, and please let us know if there is a time you WISH we were open but we are not. 

What if I prefer to pay out of pocket for the telemedicine visit? How much does that cost?  

Direct compensation is not a problem. We accept all major credit and debit cards. It is $75.00 per visit.  

What if my insurance is billed and we have not reached our deductible? What should we expect?

You should expect an Ahana visit to be billed just like a clinic visit with your child’s doctor. The total cost for this is usually between $75.00 and $135.00 depending on your insurance provider’s contract with you. The amount you pay here should be applied to your deductible for the year. 

Who do I contact if I have technical difficulties with Ahana?

Please use the Contact page to get in touch directly with our support staff!

How does it work?

When it’s time for your shift, you will sign into your account on your mobile device or computer. You’ll get a text when a patient enters the virtual “waiting room.” You’ll have a chance to review the patient’s information and any notes from the medical home before entering a visit with the patient. Once you’re done evaluating the patient, you can document the visit and specify if the patient needs any follow up. And don’t worry, we offer training for each new provider.

How do I fill a prescription for a patient?

We do not yet have e-prescribing in Ahana, but we hope to in the future. At this stage, if you feel a child needs a prescription to provide the highest quality care please ask the family for their pharmacy and call it in. Be sure to note the details of the prescription in your note for their primary care provider to see the next business day.  

How long does it take on average to document/close encounter?

Our documentation is super simple and focused on the type of visit you are doing, so it should be very quick. We also continue to collect the wisdom of our collaborating pediatricians to create tools for sharing like our “pediatric telemedicine exam suggested normals” card that you get when you start. Okay, to answer your question, the documentation should be similar to the time you would spend in clinic, and we are always open to ways to make it better!

What’s the value of a pediatrician collaboration?

We could go on and on, but here are a few of the reasons we are so proud to be creating this collaborative effort of Montana providers. We simply believe that we can do together what we can’t do alone. As a larger team of pediatricians that know how to work together on Ahana, we think we can improve equity of access to quality pediatrics, alleviate strain caused by physician shortage, build support for practicing pediatricians and community providers, and fend off things that our patients are being offered outside of pediatric expertise and the medical home. There are hours during the day when families have questions, but we can’t be open 24/7. We think a larger collaborative is an amazing gift to them and to us. There are corners of our state where families are alone, but we can’t physically reach them. We hope this collaborative will become the resource that those communities can tap into for improved access. 

How is quality maintained?

Quality is maintained by treating a telemedicine visit like any visit in clinic. Additionally, the visit is communicated back to the primary care provider, keeping the medical home intact. We hope that knowing where our patients are at night and knowing they were seen by a pediatrician sets a new bar for quality. We also hope that when we see ways that our peers may be doing better or ways that we could be better, this community is one that helps us all grow and improve over our entire career.

Who are the participating providers in this pilot phase, and what communities are they representing?

You can see participating providers here. They represent Missoula, Bozeman, Kalispell, Billings, Helena, Polson, and Anaconda communities.

Who do I contact if I am having technology issues with the Ahana platform?

Please use the Contact page to connect directly with our support team!

If I feel a patient needs to be evaluated in the Emergency Department, how should I participate in the handoff? Should I still bill for my telemedicine encounter?

The minimum work for you here would be to clearly communicate and document your advice to the family. If you feel that the information you have learned would make a call to the ER a valuable call, we encourage you to do what you have time to do and what you feel is best practice. Some patients may be low acuity and on their way to an ER near their home that you know and trust. Some patients may be higher acuity, live farther from the ER and not have dedicated pediatric opinions in their area. Let us know how this goes, what you experience, what you are seeing and how we can help.   

What happens if something comes up and I need to reschedule my Ahana shift? How much notification is needed?

We are really counting on you right now, but we also have an amazing group of doctors dedicated to making this work. Please let us know if something comes up, but please also understand how much you matter to us!  As we move beyond the pilot, start getting paid and understand what need we are meeting – we will try to get more strict!   

What is the expected timeline to see reimbursement for my telemedicine encounter?

We start the process of submitting the bill for your visits first thing in the morning Monday through Friday. If the families you are seeing have entered all of their billing information, we can pay you within the week. If we need to call the family, the insurance company, or have invalid information that will delay the process. We will do our best to follow up with everyone, but we are not planning to be hard on families who can’t pay at this stage. We will be happy to show you what happened with the patients you have seen, and we pay our doctors on a quarterly basis.  

What are the necessary steps to take if we witness something of concern during our telemedicine encounter or have social or environmental safety concerns for a patient or caregiver?

This is a great question and one that we have thought a lot about. We have learned from our providers that they are already seeing things that help them understand patients and families better. If these are things that worry you, your response should depend upon the severity of your concern or observation. If you see something that indicates abuse or neglect, you will obviously need to function as the mandated reporter in the same way you would in clinic by contacting Child Protective Services at:

https://dphhs.mt.gov/cfsd/childfamilyservices

If your observation is not severe, but you still feel like what you saw may be important information for the child’s primary care provider, please put that information in as a “Red Flag” so they will see it the following morning and be able to learn more or take action on what you saw. We are always happy to help you speak directly with any provider in our community as well.  

Can or how do I get MOC for this participation?

We are working now to make Ahana participation an MOC credit-worthy experience. Stay tuned!