Michigan Stroke Network Frequently Asked Questions


Is there a cost to belong to the Michigan Stroke Network (MSN)?
No. There is no fee to become a member of the MSN. The program is fully supported and maintained by the MSN and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, MI. The MSN requests that member hospitals designate a primary contact person and some minimal staff time to help with the implementation associated with the stroke network.

Is there a cost to a member hospital for the physician consultation?
No. There is no fee to the member hospital to have stroke experts available for remote consultations 24/7, 365 days a year. The stroke specialist who provided the consultation is responsible for billing the patient’s insurance for the consultation.

What happens if the stroke robot equipment fails?
There is an agreement with the telemedicine vendor that they will provide 24/7, 365 days a year of technical support. The telemedicine vendor has stringent protocols put into place that are distributed to each location that describes the procedure to follow if there should be technical difficulties. If technical difficulties arise and cannot be immediately resolved, the consulting stroke physician can provide the consult via the telephone.

Am I required to send my patient to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO)?
No. Being a member of the MSN does not obligate the member hospital to send patients to SJMO. However, if a network hospital wishes to transfer a patient to SJMO, the transportation and bed placement is facilitated through St. Joseph Mercy Oakland’s transfer center or Logistics Center.

Are we obligated to use the MSN and stroke robot when it is up and running?
No. The network member hospital physicians and staff may choose NOT to utilize the telemedicine and consultative expertise services that is available to them. However, the remote consultative services ARE available when the member institution feels that a vascular stroke specialist may benefit the care of their patient

Are there liabilities associated with MSN?
The liabilities would be the same as if the consult would be performed in person.

Is a consult with the MSN an attempt to “steal” my patients?
No. Actually the goal of the MSN’s program is to provide the best care possible for your patient by providing early and efficient access to expert vascular neurologists for stroke consultation through telemedicine. Our goal is to collaborate with the partner hospital physicians and staff to keep at the local institution patients local whenever possible.

What if the Emergency Department physician does not agree with the MSN stroke consultant?
The attending physician at the member hospital makes the final decision regarding the patient’s medical management and disposition of care. There is no obligation for the MSN member hospital to follow the recommendations of the consulting physician.

How does the Michigan Stroke Network protect patient confidentiality?
The Michigan Stroke Network and the use of telemedicine is HIPAA-compliant and member hospital personnel are responsible for obtaining normal patient care consent and HIPAA documentation. The Michigan Stroke Network uses a HIPAA-secure virtual private network to ensure secure transmission of any patient health information.

How does medical billing for MSN services work?
The MSN stroke consulting physician will bill the patient, or the patient’s insurance, for the fee of the appropriate consult level only. The MSN member hospital will bill for emergency department care that they provided as a part of normal procedure.

How do I know the stroke consulting physicians on the other end of the stroke robot are qualified?
The Michigan Stroke Network utilizes the SJMO neurology stroke faculty, who are board certified in vascular neurology or have completed an additional fellowship in vascular neurology.

How do partner sites comply with physician credentialing requirements?
The MSN and SJMO collaborates with each partner site to ensure compliance with the established standards of care. The program complies and remains current with the The Joint Commission, CMS and Medicaid standards that are established for telemedicine consultation and services that applies credentialing by proxy at each site.

What are Medicare and Medicaid’s reimbursement policies for stroke telemedicine?
Clinical consultations provided through telemedicine are reimbursable by Medicare and most third-party payers. http://www.cms.gov.

What happens to patients that are transferred to St. Joes that may require inpatient rehabilitation?
The program makes every effort to return the patient to the facility from which they originated or to the local community rehabilitation center that the patient and family choices.

What services are provided for the families that have traveled away from home to stay with their loved one?
The MSN is fortunate to the benefits of a “Compassion Fund”. The fund was created by the unconditional generosity of local donors that allows us to offer overnight housing to patient’s families during one of the most stressful times in their lives.