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COMPLIANCE

How to create and implement a mandatory face mask policy at your medical office  

What began as a CDC guideline is evolving into a legal duty with more than 20 states and countless municipalities across the country adopting laws requiring individuals to wear masks or face coverings in enclosed indoor public spaces, including medical offices. As a result, medical offices must adopt and enforce mandatory mask policies at their facilities. While mask requirements vary slightly by jurisdiction, here are the 10 basic elements they should include. Defining our terms  This analysis is about non-medical face masks that people at medium at low risk levels are required to wear, as opposed to N95 particulate respirators and more elaborate respiratory equipment, eye and face shields other personal protection equipment (PPE) required for personnel at high risk of infection. Policy statement Start by stating that office entrants… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Use contact logging to ensure medical office employees practice social distancing

Managing a medical office compliance program in the age of COVID-19 poses new and unprecedented challenges. One of the biggest and most important is ensuring that employees and the persons they interact with on the job follow social distancing requirements. To succeed in this effort, you must have the capability to track actual encounters. One possibility is digital technology, the use of apps, wearables and other so called “contact tracing” solutions that monitor encounters in real time. But in addition to being highly privacy-invasive, these solutions may be too costly and cumbersome for many offices. So, you may want to consider using this cheaper, easier and less intrusive manual method instead. What’s at stake Without a vaccine or treatment, social distancing, i.e., keeping at least six feet away from other… . . . read more.

Focus On

Nearly 3 in 4 Physicians Say They Can’t Provide Easy & Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Development of new lab tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 coronavirus has been faster and more prolific than anybody could dare expect for a pathogen that was unknown just a few months ago. But it still may not be enough to satisfy the urgent demand for COVID-19 testing—at least not yet. That’s the depressing conclusion of a new survey from Harvard Medical School, the Rand Corporation and Doximity, a professional medical network of which 70% of US physicians are members Quick and Easy Testing Remains Elusive Conducted between March 21-24, the survey “Physicians Views on the Coronavirus Pandemic Response,” included 2,600 physicians. Half of the respondents said they’ve treated at least one patient with potential COVID-19 symptoms. When asked whether they were “currently able to test their… . . . read more.

NEW TRIALS ANNOUNCED

Physicians can report COVID-19 clinical trial data through QPP

Improved availability of data key to driving improvement in patient care and development of innovative practices The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging clinicians who participate in the Quality Payment Program (QPP), such as physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others, to contribute to scientific research and evidence to fight the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Clinicians may now earn credit in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a performance-based track of QPP that incentivizes quality and value, for participation in a clinical trial and reporting clinical information by attesting to the new COVID-19 Clinical Trials improvement activity. This action will provide vital data to help drive improvement in patient care and develop innovative best practices to manage the spread of COVID-19 within communities. “The best scientific and… . . . read more.

TELEHEALTH

Public health emergency jumpstarts remote care

From video chats to relaxation of state licensing requirements, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote and virtual healthcare services. Here is an update from CMS: Medicare Telehealth Visits: Effective for services starting March 6, 2020, and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), Medicare will make payments for Medicare telehealth services furnished to patients in broadened circumstances. During the PHE, clinicians can use popular applications that allow for video chat such as Apple FaceTime and Skype, thanks in part to enforcement discretion by the HHS Office of Civil Rights. Clinicians who seek additional privacy protections for telehealth while using video communication products should provide such services through technology vendors that offer HIPAA business associate agreements (BAAs) with their video communication products. In addition, clinicians… . . . read more.


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