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CMS

Two new telehealth resources for your practice and your patients

In response to the increased use and expanded coverage of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, From Coverage to Care (C2C) released two new resources to support providers and patients in making the most of virtual care: Telehealth for Providers: What You Need to Know – Providers can learn how and when to use telehealth. Topics include how to set up telehealth services, how to conduct a successful visit, and how to keep up to date on telehealth payment (particularly for Medicare and Medicaid). Telehealth: What to Know for Your Family – Patients can find out the types of care they can receive through telehealth, how to prepare for an appointment, what to expect during a visit, and more. This resource is also available in Spanish. Providers and partners can download graphics to post… . . . read more.

Hiring mistakes come at a higher price amid pandemic

A hiring mistake could cost your office more today than it would have a year ago. New research from a global staffing firm shows more than three in four senior managers surveyed (77 per cent) admit to recruiting the wrong candidate for a role, and more than half (56 per cent) said the negative impact is more severe now than it was a year ago. Four months lost on one hiring mistake When it comes to their most recent regrettable hire, senior managers said it took 11 weeks, on average, to realize the person was a poor match and to let them go, and an additional 5 weeks to restaff the role. That’s a total of 16 weeks, or 4 months, of time squandered on a recruiting blunder. Companies have… . . . read more.

HIRING

Prepare behavioral questions for the best interviews

By Paul Edwards  bio Stop us if you’ve heard this job interview cliche before: In the middle of interviewing a candidate, the hiring manager asks, “What is your greatest weakness?” Without missing a beat, the candidate smiles slightly, folds their hands on their knees, and responds “My greatest weakness is that I work too hard.” Ugh! If you’ve ever been in a position to hire in the past—or have ever been interviewed for a job, yourself—it’s enough to make your stomach turn. Implicitly, our professional minds understand that this is a bad interview question. Terrible, really. But what, specifically, makes it a bad interview question? Not only does it put the candidate in the awkward position of having to either lie or speak to a personal shortcoming during an already… . . . read more.

MANAGING PATIENTS

How to proactively communicate COVID-19 FAQs to patients

By Lisa A. Eramo bio COVID-19 has forced medical practices nationwide to embrace change as well as rethink workflows and care delivery. Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available, practice managers have even more to ponder—particularly how to communicate with patients about vaccine-related FAQs. Only 46% of respondents to a recent survey said they plan to get the vaccine. Many questions remain for those who aren’t sure or who definitely don’t plan to take it, and providers must be well-positioned to instill and build confidence. They must also be prepared to answer logistical questions such as how and when to make an appointment for the vaccine. Providing critical information all in one place helps avoid tying up the practice’s phone lines or generating a large number of email messages through the patient portal…. . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Most of your medical office employees are vaccinated. Now what?

By Lynne Curry bio Most of your office staff have received vaccines. Those who remain unvaccinated either haven’t decided whether they will or have refused to get vaccinated. What’s next? Can you relax your workplace protocols? How do you handle the conflicts between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and those who differently interpret safety protocols? New CDC guidance In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided new COVID-19 guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.1 Fully vaccinated individuals may interact indoors with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physically distancing. Fully vaccinated individuals, except for those who live in a group setting or themselves experience COVID-19 symptoms, no longer need to quarantine and test if they’ve been around someone who has COVID-19.2 Fully vaccinated individuals do need to… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

5 tech resources improving medical practice efficiency this year

By Alison Foster bio There was a notable increase in the adoption of healthcare technology by practices and providers in 2020. This continues in 2021, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up. Many practices are short on both human and financial resources and need to increase efficiency to the maximum. Here are some forms of healthcare technology you can rely on to optimize your practice’s efficiency in 2021. Cloud computing Keeping patient data safe and accessible is critical in healthcare. Traditional methods of storing patient data often have challenging retrieval and sharing processes. Cloud computing solves many of these problems and is fast becoming the go-to choice for many practices. Electronic health records stored on the clouds means that providers and authorized personnel can access patient data… . . . read more.

YOUR CAREER

Pandemic affecting your focus? Try these tips

By Indira Totaram bio The uncertainty and worry surrounding the coronavirus appear to have no end in sight—and it’s affecting the way we think and function. Since the onset of the pandemic, many of us find ourselves troubled by the inability to focus on even simple tasks. It’s as though our attention span is shorter or we are more distracted and overwhelmed than usual. And you wouldn’t be wrong to feel that way. In fact, 40 percent  of American workers are feeling less productive than usual. One helpful approach for understanding this occurrence is “Cognitive Load Theory,” which characterizes our minds as information processing systems. When solving for an unfamiliar problem, we rely on our “working memory,” which is limited in its capacity to retain information. However, if we are an expert… . . . read more.

CMS

Medicare payment upped for COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has increased the Medicare payment amount for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. This new and higher payment rate will support important actions taken by providers that are designed to increase the number of vaccines they can furnish each day, including establishing new or growing existing vaccination sites, conducting patient outreach and education, and hiring additional staff. For COVID-19 vaccines administered on or after March 15, the national average payment rate for physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and many other immunizers will be $40 to administer each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents an increase from approximately $28 to $40 for the administration of single-dose vaccines, and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. The exact payment… . . . read more.

HUMAN RESOURCES

How to conduct a virtual investigation

By Lynne Curry bio Question: We have a messy situation we need to investigate involving 12 and possibly more employees at remote locations. Nine months ago, we laid off our human resources officer. The accounting manager and I inherited many of her duties. Both of us have investigated minor issues in each of our departments, and our former human resources officer left a good protocol for conducting investigations in her file. The protocol calls for bringing involved individuals into the corporate office to interview them. In the past, we spent considerable money flying employees in from the field for interviews. We lack the financial resources to do that this time. Also, while we know who was immediately involved in the situation, we won’t know which other individuals we may need… . . . read more.

CODING

New devices, technology dominate 2021 CPT code changes

By Lisa Eramo bio There is a whole slew of new and revised CPT codes—329 changes to be exact—effective since Jan. 1. This includes 206 new codes, 54 deletions, and 69 revisions. Interestingly, the majority of changes pertaining to new technology and devices, giving medical practices the opportunity to provide high-quality patient care while also receiving reimbursement. This article summarizes three notable changes. Retinal imaging using augmented intelligence The American Medical Association (AMA) added CPT code 92229 for retinal imaging with automated point-of-care analysis and report (unilateral or bilateral). Per the AMA, this technology better supports patient screening for diabetic retinopathy, and it increases the early detection and incorporation of findings into diabetes care. What’s interesting about this procedure is that it relies on augmented intelligence (AI) technology, says Kimberly Huey,… . . . read more.


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