While the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a significant challenge for the entire healthcare system, physician medical practices face a unique set of issues themselves. They must balance between the acute needs of their patients, while also managing their staff through a major crisis. Fortunately, the Federal government has eased up some laws and regulations to provide relief during this crisis. For example, the HIPPA privacy laws to permit doctors to video conference with their patients on live video platforms without having to comply with the complicated and restrictive rules that otherwise apply. Also, Medicare has eased its restrictive policies governing telehealth and other e-health delivery mechanisms. Regardless, providers face additional concerns and anxieties. In this blog we will discuss 4 ways your medical practice can Navigate the COVID-19 challenges.
Telehealth & Virtual Care Tools
Telemedicine and virtual care have quickly become essential tools for medical providers to keep themselves, their staff and their patients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s as simple as using your smartphone or laptop with a shared link to enable video, or other electronic devices. Free to low-cost telehealth platform options are available to make this possible. For more information, please check out the CMS FAQ document released earlier in March of 2020 with more details. Also, The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has issued a Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Emergency with information around regulations and staying HIPAA compliant while practicing telehealth and using virtual tools to connect with your patients.
To support the efforts of lowering exposure to patient, CMS has now approved additional Medicare CPT codes to provide more services to beneficiaries via telehealth.
In addition, the local government of Puerto Rico has also issued a statement about the use of telehealth tools.
Patient Communications- Stay Connected!
Patients depend on their trusted healthcare providers during a healthcare crisis. The unknown nature of COVID-19 has created a sense of insecurity and concern, so your patients want to hear from you. For example, COVID-19 might have caused a temporary change in your standard medical practice hours.
It’s important to keep your medical practice information updated online and keep your patients in the loop about any changes. If you have decided to temporarily close your practice, make sure to update your website, social media platforms and contact patients about rescheduling their upcoming appointments. If you have decided to stay open, it’s also important to let people know if you’re accepting new patients or referring healthy patients to a different facility to minimize their exposure to the virus and all the steps your medical practice is taking to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
Not all patients use the same communication channels. Your organization can use a mix of emails, text message, social media posts — possibly including Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, and write informative blog posts to help educate and inform your patients and community. You should also post the most important information on your website homepage.
Stay Informed- Navigating through changes
As the world works to combat the spread of COVID-10, there have been multiple developments and changes to the healthcare industry. The Medical Practice Management Association and other similar associations have taken the task to keep providers informed with the latest changes. Including updates from CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention).
Designate a “point person” in your team to monitor updates from the CDC, state and local health agencies to stay up to date with the latest information. These associations and government entities provide meaningful information about quality, costs, and supporting innovative approaches to improving quality, accessibility, and affordability, while finding the best ways to use innovative technology to support patient-centered care and keep medical practices afloat.
Consider Outsourcing your Billing
More medical practices are turning to outsourcing rather than keeping their billing services in house. With medical practices dealing with an increase in sick patients, is outsourcing your billing the right choice? It’s an ongoing debate for many providers as they balance workload, time and resources.
Utilizing the right billing services vendor can help providers increase cash flow, get cash in the door quicker, improve reimbursement rates through higher claims quality and audit readiness, and allow you to focus internal resources on patient care. Plus, outsourcing your billing can improve your management of claims and enhance the speed of your cash collections.
Having an extremely aggressive and accurate coding and billing effort amidst the chaos will be critically important. When you outsource your insurance billing to Inmediata Health Group, we extend your organization’s resources capabilities with a dedicated account team focused on helping collect more, get paid faster and maintain compliance. Our billing experts leverage the power of our SecureClaim software to optimize your cash flow and implement proven best practices.
Inmediata is here to help you focus on the success of your medical practice and the most important elements of patient care. Leverage Inmediata’s services, technology and best business practices to maintain your practice.
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