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COMPLIANCE

What does the Americans with Disabilities Act require of your medical office?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires medical offices to make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices, and procedures to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would create an undue burden or fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided. This includes ensuring that the facility is physically accessible to individuals with disabilities, as well as providing appropriate communication accommodations and assistive technology. Specifically, medical offices must take the following steps to comply with the ADA: Physical accessibility: Medical offices must ensure that their facilities are physically accessible to individuals with disabilities. This includes installing ramps or chair lifts for individuals who use wheelchairs or mobility devices, providing designated parking spaces for individuals with disabilities, and ensuring that doorways and hallways are wide enough for individuals… . . . read more.

INCREASING PROFITS

Track these 5 metrics for practice profitability

By Mike Rigert “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … , ” wrote author Charles Dickens in his classic novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.” While it’s certainly not the worst of times for most healthcare practices (that honor likely went to 2020-2021), things could always be better, right? You’re likely still dealing with the impacts of rampant inflation and ongoing short staffing, among other things. Despite these setbacks, there’s clear opportunities to move your practice forward to improve both production and productivity to help you reach your financial goals. It all goes back to numbers—the key performance indicators (KPIs) that determine whether your practice sinks or swims. Some metrics are more important and vital to the success of your practice than others. We’ve outlined five… . . . read more.

TOOL

Sample policy on domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a serious issue that affects individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and psychological abuse. Medical offices have a unique role in addressing and preventing domestic abuse, as patients may disclose abuse during a medical appointment or seek medical attention as a result of abuse. If a patient discloses domestic abuse to a medical professional, it is important for the medical office to have a clear policy in place for how to respond. This policy should prioritize the safety and well-being of the patient and provide them with the necessary support and resources. There are several steps that medical offices can take to address and prevent domestic abuse: Provide a safe and welcoming environment: Medical offices should… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

10 tips for winter safety in your office parking lot

As extreme winter conditions continue in many parts of the country, remember to have your office parking lot maintained for the safety of your employees and patients. Here are some tips for promoting safety in your office parking lot this winter and being better prepared for future winters: Clear the parking lot of snow and ice regularly to improve traction and reduce the risk of slips and falls. This may involve hiring a contractor or having staff members take turns clearing the lot. Mark slippery areas with caution signs or cones to warn drivers and pedestrians of potential hazards. Install snow fences or berms around the perimeter of the parking lot to help prevent snow drifts from blocking entrances and exits. Stock up on supplies such as sand, salt, and… . . . read more.

BILLING & CODING

Telehealth policy to change after the COVID-19 public health emergency

The COVID-19 public health emergency has been extended to Oct. 13. Of particular interest to medical practices is the continuation of telehealth flexibilities, which will expire at the end of the public health emergency. US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra officially renewed the declaration in mid-August. The emergency declaration has been in place since January 2020, and the latest renewal came as the Omicron offshoot BA.5, the most contagious variant yet, continues to stake its claim in the US. Daily case rates, though vastly undercounted, are the highest they’ve been in months, as are COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. Data published in August by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than half of the country’s population lives in a county with a… . . . read more.

COMMUNICATION

Interpreters improve patient care

Do you have interpreters on staff or on call for your medical practice? Interpreters are essential for medical care when language is a barrier. Consider the results of a study reported in this article from Boston Children’s Hospital:  By Veronica Giarla Sharing medical concerns with clinicians can be hard for anyone—a challenge that’s amplified in patients when English isn’t their first language. The results are troubling: One recent study by Boston Children’s pediatric hospitalist and researcher Alisa Khan, MD, MPH, found that patients and families who have limited English proficiency are three to five times less likely to speak up and ask questions of their care team. “There are many ways patients who don’t speak English experience health care differently from those who do,” she says. It’s a challenge that Esterlina… . . . read more.

PATIENT EXPERIENCE

14 good ways to cut your appointment wait times

Long patient wait times cause frustration for patients, stress for reception desk staff, loss of confidence in the practice—and, ultimately, loss of revenue. Here are 14 things you can do to reduce patient wait times, courtesy of Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, a team of specialists who partner with healthcare clients to profitably deliver results through data-driven marketing. 1. Offer digital check-in services that allow patients to submit medical forms before their appointment. 2. Offer hassle-free online appointment scheduling and rescheduling. 3. Integrate virtual care services like telehealth/telemedicine. 4. Stay on schedule by leveraging physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) for routine or non-urgent visits. 5. Develop better new patient lead workflows to improve efficiencies and productivity. 6. Conduct patient surveys. 7. Send patient appointment reminders to lower your risk of no-shows (which… . . . read more.

MARKETING

Take the sting out of bad reviews from patients

It is important to address every online review—good or bad—publicly so that others reading the review will know you are responsive to patient communication and concerns. Here are some simple steps to addressing a bad review, potentially resolving the patient’s complaint and showing possible future patients how you deal with patient concerns. Keep your cool As much as we want to think that we do the best we can for every patient, we do make mistakes, said Mary Pat Whaley, founder and president of Manage My Practice. “I spoke with a patient recently and told her the practice had failed to send her prescription in and she was dumbfounded,” she said. The patient was surprised and pleased the practice owned up to the error. Read it again “First blush reads… . . . read more.

MANAGING PATIENTS

Make your patients happier with these communication tips

By Mike Rigert Even though modern patients appreciate the ease and convenience of digital communication with your practice through automated text reminders and real-time communication, we can’t lose sight of the importance that personal interaction has in keeping those relationships strong. A HealthGrades study showed that patients’ communication with front office staff are primary factors in online reviews—both positive and negative. The research found that of nearly 7 million patient reviews, the most frequently used phrases in negative comments were related to front office staff interaction. In the busy and chaotic environment your front office staff operate in, it’s easy to forget that patients still expect human connections and quality customer service during a visit. This includes everything from how to greet a patient to individual personal connections that lets each and… . . . read more.

MOM WEBINAR

Learn about changes and updates to telehealth

There’s a lot you need to know about telehealth. That’s why Medical Office Manager is offering a webinar, Telehealth—What Managers Need to Know, on April 6. It’s free to Medical Office Manager members. Presenter Jen Bell of Karen Zupko and Associates will give you the tools and knowledge you need to comply with new telehealth regulations. Meanwhile here is Jen’s update on telehealth changes to early 2022. POS 10 Telehealth Provided in Patient’s Home Patient is located in their home (which is a location other than a hospital or other facility where the patient receives care in a private residence) when receiving health services or health related services through telecommunication technology. Home may be defined to include temporary lodging (hotels, homeless shelters) and patient travels of short distance from the exact… . . . read more.


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