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MANAGING STAFF

How to prevent the spread of nurse burnout in your healthcare organization

When COVID-19 hit, healthcare teams were called upon to save the world. And they did. But what healthcare leaders didn’t realize was that the battle has just begun for healthcare heroes suffering a severe mental and emotional toll. As COVID-19 cases rise and fall and rise again, so do physician and nurse burnout. “Executive leaders are cutting back on their resources to the point where they have stopped investing in their people. They’ve stopped offering the very same programs that could help their teams protect their physical, emotional, and mental energy to ride this additional wave,” says Dr. Renee Thompson, founder of the Healthy Workforce Initiative,  a global leader in addressing disruptive behavior in healthcare. Dr. Thompson says when things get tough financially, administrators cut back on education and development… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

Google search interest in “telehealth” spikes 317% because of pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a world of change, some of which might be permanent. Will we ever again pack concerts with close to 100,000 people or jam into subways like sardines? Will mask-wearing and social-distancing carry on long after the pandemic has ended? Has online shopping delivered the final nail in the coffin for brick-and-mortar shopping? Will traditional education give way to virtual learning? Will telehealth services and online doctors replace a sizable chunk of in-person doctor visits? That last one is entirely possible according to a new study completed by OnlineDoctor.com. By tracking national and state-by-state Google Search trends over a two-year duration, OnlineDoctor found there’s been a massive uptick in consumer telehealth interest since just about the exact day a national state of emergency was declared in… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Disciplining employees for not following COVID-19 restrictions when they are off-duty

Picture this: COVID-19 cases are surging. Your state or city is in full lockdown mode. That means, among other things, that outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people aren’t allowed. So, it disturbs you to turn on the Sunday news and see hundreds of people crowding together to demonstrate right in the middle of downtown. And then it gets personal. You recognize one of those demonstrators. She’s one of your medical office’s employees! What the heck is she doing there?! And, gulp, you also notice that she’s not wearing a mask! Now what? Can you discipline the employee for participating in the illegal demonstration and not wearing a mask? Off-duty conduct, employee discipline and COVID-19 The statement that what employees do when they’re away from work is none of your… . . . read more.

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Professionals and employees reveal relocation plans amid pandemic

Relocation is a big consideration for both professionals and their employers right now. A recent study by a global staffing firm shows 44 per cent of workers surveyed said they would consider moving to a different city if their company offered long-term remote arrangements, and another three per cent have already made a move. 44 per cent of professionals would consider relocating, but only 16 per cent would be willing to take a pay cut to do so Nearly three in 10 companies are allowing workers to make a permanent move A separate poll of human resources (HR) managers suggests many companies are open to the idea of an anywhere workforce: 49 per cent of respondents reported their organization has allowed current staff to relocate temporarily, and another 27 per… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

Can you require medical office workers to get the COVID-19 vaccination?

Although it’s clearly a positive development for the world at large, the almost miraculous emergence of a vaccine for COVID-19 in less than a year poses legal challenges for employers in general and medical office staff and other healthcare providers in particular. The Question: Can employers require their workers to get the vaccine? Bottom Line on Top: The answer is probably but not 100 percent certainly YES. And even if a mandatory vaccine policy is justifiable, it’s also subject to strict restrictions. Legal justification for mandatory vaccination policies Even though the COVID-19 situation is new and unprecedented, we can still discern the boundaries with regard to employers’ rights to demand that workers get vaccinated. Specifically, we know that OSHA, courts and arbitrators have historically upheld mandatory flu vaccination policies (as… . . . read more.

AMA REPORTS

Physician practices under threat with pandemic

The viability of physician practices remains under threat as the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic hits record levels of cases being reported across the United States. A nationwide physician survey issued late last year by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows medical practices have been economically stressed by the public health crisis with a 32% average drop in revenue. “Physician practices continue to be under significant financial stress due to reductions in patient volume and revenue, in addition to higher expenses for supplies that are scarce for some physicians” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. “More economic relief is needed now from Congress as some medical practices contemplate the brink of viability, particularly smaller practices that are facing a difficult road to recovery.” The AMA’s nationally representative survey of 3,500… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Has OSHA done enough to enforce COVID-19 safety rules for medical offices?

Even after the election and swearing in of the new President, federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains a politically charged issue. One area of contention involves whether OSHA has done enough to protect healthcare workers and other workers exposed to the virus. On Jan. 8, the agency issued a statistical report documenting its COVID-19 enforcement efforts starting with the beginning of the pandemic and running through Dec. 31, 2020. Employer liability for COVID-19 violations under OSHA laws Nobody disputes that under OSHA, medical offices and other employers have a duty to protect workers from risk of COVID-19 infection. What may be less clear, is the source of that duty. Neither the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Act) nor the regulations say anything about COVID-19 or, with a few… . . . read more.

BILLING & CODING

Updated info for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID‑19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 16 years of age and older. Review Pfizer’s Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) regarding the limitations of authorized use. During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), Medicare will cover and pay for the administration of the vaccine (when furnished consistent with the EUA). Review the CMS updated payment and HCPCS Level I CPT code structure for specific COVID-19 vaccine information. Only bill for the vaccine administration codes when you submit claims to Medicare; don’t include the vaccine product codes when vaccines are free. Related links: CMS COVID-19 Provider Toolkit CMS COVID-19 FAQs CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for medical centers, clinics, and clinicians FDA COVID-19 Vaccines webpage

CMS

Updated 2021 CMS QRDA III Implementation Guide final rule available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released an update to the 2021 CMS Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) Category III Implementation Guide (IG) for Eligible Clinicians and Eligible Professionals to support Calendar Year (CY) 2021 reporting. The update includes the list of electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) finalized by CMS for the CY 2021 Performance Period based on the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule released on Dec. 1, 2020. It also includes information for Improvement Activity Identifiers, Promoting Interoperability Objectives and Measures, and Promoting Interoperability Attestation Statement Identifiers finalized by CMS for the CY 2021 Performance Period based on the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule. The updated 2021 CMS QRDA III IG outlines requirements for eligible clinicians and eligible professionals to report eCQMs, Improvement Activities, and… . . . read more.

HUMAN RESOURCES

5 people problems and how to solve them

By Lynne Curry bio We can’t guess all the challenges facing us as office managers in this new year, but we can assume that we will be dealing with an old one: people and their personalities. Whether working together virtually or in-person, chances are good you will be dealing with people problems. Here are five common problems and strategies for dealing with them. Stopping a bully senior manager without losing your job Question: I face a situation that has no easy answer and no easy solution. As the office manager and human resources director, I supposedly enforce our corporation’s code of conduct and oversee the human resource issues. I report to the report to the chief operating officer, a bully who runs roughshod over any employee unlucky enough to cross… . . . read more.


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