The pMD Blog

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pMD Blog...

where we cover interesting and relevant news, insights, events, and more related to the health care industry and pMD. Most importantly, this blog is a fun, engaging way to learn about developments in an ever-changing field that is heavily influenced by technology.



Here's The Latest in Health Care:


This week CMS announced some major changes to their guidelines for billing telehealth encounters. CMS will now allow for more than 80 additional services to be completed via telehealth. When billing claims for non-traditional telehealth services with dates of services on or after March 1, 2020, and for the duration of the Public Health Emergency (PHE), practices should now bill with the Place of Service (POS) equal to what it would have been in the absence of a PHE, along with a modifier 95, indicating that the service rendered was actually performed via telehealth.  Read More

At least 5,700 people with the coronavirus have now died in the United States and more than 200,000 people are known to be infected, according to a New York Times. The death toll has quadrupled over the last week and now exceeds the number of people known to have died from the virus in mainland China, where the pandemic started in December. The New York Times offers an interactive map to track confirmed cases in your area.  Read More

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides new evidence to bolster early reports that the transmission of the coronavirus — which has now infected close to one million people worldwide — can happen one to three days prior to the onset of symptoms. This provides additional evidence to support extensive control measures including isolation, quarantine, school closures, travel restrictions and cancellation of mass gatherings, especially since the asymptomatic transmission makes containment even more difficult.  Read More

Home Depot said it has halted all sales of N95 masks at its stores and website, redirecting them to be donated to hospitals, health care workers and first responders treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic. The move came as retailers have come under scrutiny for continuing to sell the respirators amid a shortage for health care professionals during COVID-19. The company will also donate millions of dollars in personal protective equipment (PPE) and other products.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.


Feature Releases at pMD: A Lesson in Teamwork




At pMD, we make it a high priority to release features that have a positive impact on our customers and are also relevant to the current health care climate. The Product Operations team at pMD specifically focuses on making sure that our products are evolving to meet our customers’ needs, that our customers are aware of new features, and that the overall pMD team is connected with the development team when new features are released. Features can have a significant impact on our customers, so the Product Operations team is always working on making our releases as efficient as possible. The inspiration of a feature may come from many sources, which can include product feedback from customers and research by the pMD team into the health care landscape. The decision of which features to build can also be a very collaborative process, since pMD employees from all departments work directly with customers and provide helpful feedback to the development team. Once our developers are ready for the feature to be available to customers, they notify the Product Operations team. 

Once the Product Operations team is notified of a feature, the team creates an interdepartmental release plan. With the many moving parts, it is not uncommon for all departments of the pMD team to be involved in the feature release. For example, Product Operations collaborates with Marketing and Customer Success to create effective customer communication tools. Product Operations also prioritizes internal education so that all team members, regardless of department, are up to speed on all new features. Product Operations also works directly with customers who are possible candidates for a new feature. Many times this may take the form of beta testing. Beta testing allows customers the ability to try out the feature and provide feedback before it is released to the greater customer base. The Product Operations team acts as the intermediary between beta testers and the development team, ensuring that the feedback reaches the developers so they can continue to improve on the feature. 

Once a feature is successfully released, this doesn’t mean that the feature is tucked away and forgotten. The pMD team will continue to follow a feature to make sure that it continues to be a useful and effective tool for our customers. pMDers will frequently be asked to work with customers to learn the use cases for the features and what customers like about the feature. pMD also takes product feedback very seriously, and takes the feedback into consideration when making updates for our features. 

Feature releases at pMD continue to be a collaborative and exciting process. Not only do all departments have an impact on new features but so do our customers! The dynamic relationship between the pMD team and our customers continues to set apart our process and product. Interested in learning more about pMD’s newest features? Check out the latest from our blog, news page, and LinkedIn page!


To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The American Medical Association (AMA) has created a new resource for doctors to turn to for advice on telehealth in the age of the coronavirus. It recently launched the AMA Telemedicine Quick Reference Guide, aimed at helping clinicians figure out best practices for implementing the tech. The guidelines cover everything from policy and coding to implementation. The AMA has also created a virtual panel discussion to talk about best practices when using the tech for telemedicine.  Read More

The COVID-19 outbreak will potentially boost Medicare spending over the next year from $38.5 billion to $115.4 billion. Released by the National Association of Accountable Care Organizations, the analysis also found that the increase in spending would lead to major losses for ACOs in models that take on financial risk as well as a major burden on Medicare Advantage plans.  Read More

As part of its efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed recommendations for medical practices, aimed at reducing the chance of patients spreading the disease when they come to a medical office. They include steps practices should take before, during and after a patient visit.  Read More

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been updating its guidance for COVID-19 diagnostic tests in a piecemeal fashion as the outbreak expands. Earlier this week the agency held a webinar to flesh out its evolving policies, providing key insights on regulatory paths for molecular and serological diagnostic testing in commercial and state labs, and for commercial test products and devices. The webinar summarized and organized four pathways for COVID-19 tests, and offered some information on the numbers of tests the agency is currently aware of.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.


Telemedicine has been pushed into the spotlight in recent weeks in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Due to historically variable and restrictive reimbursement policies, many practices are not currently set up to provide virtual care. In light of the profound disruption caused by the pandemic, we are hearing from practices around the country that need to consider offering telehealth and scrambling to do so. Often, they have to consider tomorrow's appointments and wonder will we get paid for these visits? Well, here is what we know:


MEDICARE WILL COVER ALL TELEHEALTH SERVICES

CMS recently announced a major change to its telehealth reimbursement policy. During this crisis, Medicare will pay for telehealth services regardless of the originating site dating back to March 6, 2020. As long as visits are conducted via video, those visits that would normally be provided in an office, hospital, clinics or other settings, can now be done virtually, even from a patient's home. These visits are considered the same as in-person visits and are paid at the same rate as regular, in-person visits.

The codes that can be billed for what Medicare defines as “telehealth services” are typically evaluation and management (E/M) codes, such as 99213, combined with a telehealth Place of Service (POS) and potentially a modifier if required by the commercial payor.

PLACE OF SERVICE 02:

According to CMS, POS 02 is defined as “the location where health services and health-related services are provided or received, through a telecommunication system.” CMS has replaced the GT modifier with POS 02 and can be used when billing CMS claims for synchronous telemedicine visits. 

GT MODIFIER:

Although it has been widely replaced by the 02 POS location, some private payors still recognize and prefer the GT modifier to indicate a service was rendered via synchronous telecommunication.

MODIFIER 95:

Modifier 95 is a fairly new modifier and used only when billing to private payers to indicate services were rendered via synchronous telecommunication. It is important to note that Medicare and Medicaid do not recognize modifier 95. As with the GT modifier, not all payers recognize modifier 95. 

WHAT ABOUT MEDICAID AND COMMERCIAL PAYERS?

At this point, commercial and Medicaid coverage is still much less consistent. While U.S. Representatives have recommended CMS to encourage states to cover all telemedicine services and work with them to expand their capability to do so, reimbursement remains subject to state-specific requirements. In a similar vein, private health insurers, including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, United Healthcare will also cover telehealth for the next 90 days in some states, but the coverage also varies state by state. We encourage practices to always confirm local guidelines.

GET STARTED WITH pMD TELEHEALTH TODAY

pMD® Secure Messaging™ telemedicine capabilities allow practices to connect, triage, and follow up with patients through secure, HIPAA-compliant text, video, and voice calling. Easily invite patients to download the app at no cost to facilitate timely communication when it matters most:

* provide health safety guidelines and recommendations
* share important practice updates and announcements
* outreach to your most vulnerable patient population
* perform telehealth visits with patients advised not to leave their homes

No matter the specialty, pMD is highly customizable to fit your practices’ needs and workflows. View additional information, resources, and FAQs about setting up and providing telehealth services with pMD and how to get started now.   

For help setting up patient communication or to contact pMD customer support, please give us a call at 800-587-4989, x1 or email support@pmd.com.

Stay safe, everyone!

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.

Source: NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


This week CMS announced a major change to telehealth reimbursement. During this crisis, Medicare will pay for telehealth services regardless of the originating site, dating back to March 6. As long as the visit is conducted via video, patients can be located in their own homes, no longer limited to rural areas. Telehealth visits will be reimbursed for the same amount as in-person visits and cover a wide range of providers including nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and social workers.  Read More

According to a study published today by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, there is evidence that digestive symptoms such as anorexia (loss of appetite), diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain may be symptoms of COVID-19. While digestive and gastrointestinal symptoms are not currently mentioned by the CDC in the list of symptoms, but researchers suggest clinicians should keep in mind that digestive symptoms may occur before respiratory symptoms.  Read More

New preliminary data from the CDC is helping create a picture of the spectrum of illness caused by COVID-19 in the U.S. The findings show the while risk of serious disease and death is higher in older age groups, they aren't the only age groups at risk. In the U.S., while the highest percentage of deaths associated with COVID-19 was among people 85 and older, among 508 patients known to be hospitalized, 38 percent were younger than 55.  Read More

With the country rolling out social distancing measures, schools and businesses closing, and companies declaring work from home necessary, Americans are forced to face a new reality. While it may feel like life has stopped, there are ways to keep these times in perspective and learn how to carry on. As we all face uncertainty about the novel coronavirus, there are measures we can take to stay calm. It is important to make sure you’re taking care of your mental health during the coronavirus disease outbreak.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.





Telehealth is not a new concept, but amid the recent public health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, it has catapulted to the top of most practices’ priority list. During this pandemic, it is essential to stay informed and know what free resources are available to your practice to help slow the spread of the virus while continuing to provide patients with a high level of care and reassurance. “The use of telemedicine is going to be critical for management of this pandemic,” said Dr. Stephen Parodi, an infectious disease specialist and executive with The Permanente Medical Group, the doctors’ group associated with Kaiser Permanente. 

Telemedicine a Good, Safe Option for COVID-19 Screening & Patient Care

When possible, using virtual visits provides a safe option for care, while helping contain the spread of the infection at hospitals, clinics, and medical offices. Implementing or expanding an existing telehealth strategy will enable health care organizations to safely screen and treat patients for coronavirus. If patients can receive virtual guidance to help know when they need to be seen or tested, we can limit the number of people who show up unannounced at the emergency room or doctor’s office as well as avoid crowded waiting rooms and potential infection. Good communication with patients is key to keeping the worried as calm as possible and away from clinical care so that practices can steer the most at risk to the proper treatment.

Updates To Telehealth Billing for Services During Pandemic

As part of an $8.3 billion emergency funding measure, the government has granted the Department of Human Health and Services (HHS) the ability to loosen restrictions on the use of telemedicine by broadening the originating requirements and providing a nationwide waiver during this emergency. CMS, state Medicaid agencies, and commercial insurers are taking steps to expand telehealth coverage and reimbursement. To improve access to care, CMS announced that during this crisis, Medicare will pay for telehealth services (conducted via video) regardless of the originating site. Private health insurers, including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare, have also agreed to cover telehealth visits for the next 90 days in some states. Reimbursement policies vary from state to state, so practices are encouraged to confirm local guidelines. 

For more information, please see CMS’s frequently asked questions for health care providers and fact sheet for telehealth services. You can also find additional information regarding new telehealth rules and procedure codes for testing on the American Academy of Family Physicians website. 

pMD’s Free Telehealth Tools

pMD® Secure Messaging™ provides a secure, HIPAA compliant free telemedicine platform solution that allows practices to connect, triage, and follow up with patients through secure, HIPAA-compliant text, video, and voice calling. You can easily invite patients to download the application at no cost to facilitate timely communication when it matters most:

          * provide health safety guidelines and recommendations
          * share important practice updates and announcements
          * outreach to your most vulnerable patient population
          * perform telehealth visits with patients advised not to leave their homes

For help setting up patient communication or to contact pMD customer support, please give us a call at 800-587-4989 x1 or email support@pmd.com. 

Stay safe, everyone!


To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.

Source: NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


It’s official, the COVID-19 virus that has spread like wildfire through at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now a global pandemic, says the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO expressed deep concern for both the alarming levels of spread as well as inaction by world leaders in response to the outbreak. The expectation is that we will continue to see the number of cases, deaths, and affected countries climb even higher in the coming days and weeks.  Read More

In a dramatic step to prevent the spread of COVID-19, professional sports — including basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer, and tennis — are all being temporarily put on hold. The decision came a day after the NBA decided to suspend its 2020 season after two athletes tested positive for the virus. Other organizations are also following suit to mitigate the spreading risk of large gatherings, canceling events such as concerts, conferences, shows, and more.  Read More

Italy is offering a glimpse into what other countries can expect if they cannot slow the spread COVID-19, and it is not pretty. In less than three weeks, the virus has overloaded hospitals in northern Italy, leaving some doctors with no choice but to decide who lives and who dies. So far, Italy has not been able to prevent the surge of cases that has overwhelmingly taxed the capacity even of a well-regarded health care system.  Read More

This week CMS posted its first FAQs to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The information highlights the resources available to states, such as the Disaster Preparedness Toolkit developed by CMS, as well as a variety of topics regarding issues like eligibility and enrollment, benefits and cost-sharing, healthcare workforce, and telehealth.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.




Each word we speak drips with additional data beyond the dictionary definitions of what we say. In fact, how we say something is often more important than what was communicated. Tone, inflection, pitch, and pronunciation work together to deliver a message that makes up our distinct voices. To convey this same information in writing takes time - something health care providers are often short of. 

Secure Calling with pMD App is Quick & Compliant


In many cases, a provider needs to send a colleague a quick message, but the act of typing out the message itself via text can take longer, especially with complex medical jargon, so providers may resort to voice-based communication. This motivation inspired us to add voice calling to the pMD application. Now, you can immediately get hold of your colleagues via HIPAA-compliant, secure voice calling, eliminating many of the barriers we see in strictly text-based communication. Even if you don’t have a colleague’s cell phone number, pMD community members can be contacted via a secure VoIP call.

But what if you know your colleague is in surgery or in front of a patient? That’s why we added voice memos to the pMD communication suite.

Add the Convenience of Sending Voice Memos


I like to think of voice memos as “guaranteed voicemail.” You save even more time by taking the perks of asynchronous communication found in text messaging and adding the benefits above of voice. When you’re on the go, you can shoot over a voice clip to any of your colleagues and when they are available to respond, they can send either voice or text - whichever is more convenient - back to you!

Keeping Provider Phone Numbers Private & Other Perks


In addition to these general benefits of voice, the voice features in pMD offer additional perks tailored to health care providers and staff. For example, providers can call patients without exposing their cell phone numbers or themselves to additional liability from a 2 am phone call. Patients reaching back out to a provider can be triaged and directed to the appropriate resources via pMD’s Contact Practice feature without disturbing off-duty providers or staff. 

pMD Communication Tools Rapidly Breaks Down Barriers in Health Care


pMD’s suite of communication tools has rapidly broken down barriers in health care to make sure that urgent information can be relayed to those that need to know. With the addition of voice calling and voice memos, that suite now allows users to include all the nuance that hearing something spoken provides as well as the speed of communication that we’re accustomed to. Better communication tools break down barriers to effective care, making doctors, supporting staff, and their patients happy.


To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.

Source: NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Expect to see a significant increase in identified COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks. After a false start and slow initial rollout, test kits for the new coronavirus are now becoming more widely available in the United States, which will most likely uncover cases that have gone undetected thus far. The CDC estimates they will have nearly one million test kits available by the end of the week.  Read More

Alexa, what are the side effects of my sertraline medication? Consumers can now ask questions about certain drugs such as side effects, drug interactions, precautions, and classification thanks to a new partnership between Amazon and First Databank. This represents another big push into health care for the tech behemoth, giving consumers another resource to arm themselves with important information about the medications they are taking.  Read More

According to a recent survey, the nation's nurse practitioner (NP) workforce grew by 20,000 in the past year, with more than 290,000 full-time NPs accounting for more than one billion patient visits. As the number of seniors increases and the demand for health care access grows, NPs are meeting that need in rural and urban areas across the nation.  Read More

• CRISPR has been making headlines throughout the year, but for the first time, scientists have used the gene-editing technique CRISPR to try to edit a gene while the DNA is still inside a person's body. The groundbreaking procedure involved injecting the microscopic gene-editing tool into the eye of a patient blinded by a rare genetic disorder, in hopes of enabling the patient to see.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.





pMD has been making health care teams happy for over 20 years! It’s hard to believe, but it’s true that this company has been in business since the dawn of the Palm Pilot, Netscape Navigator, and Pocket PC. 

pMD, Gold Standard in Mobile Charge Capture, Evolves


20 years in the tech industry can be seen as an eternity when you consider most companies don’t last that long. You can’t make it without being able to adapt and evolve to serve your customers. pMD will continue to be known as the gold standard in mobile charge capture but our position in the market is slowly starting to expand into new territories. We’ve recognized that with our well-rounded product suite, we’re now able to serve both clinical and non-clinical professionals, connecting them with care teams as well as patients, ultimately linking them to the resources they need.

Care Navigation a Strong Focus


One area that we’re laser-focused on is that of care navigation. For those of you who may not be familiar, care navigation is “the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants in a patients’ care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health services”. Care navigation is an essential component in contemporary models of interdisciplinary primary care and is of increasing importance in the transition to Value-Based Care.

pMD Becomes Premier Care Navigation Platform


 Years ago, when pMD started research into care navigation, the question of ‘who performs this task?’ was of critical importance. In order to design the best care coordination platform on the market, we needed to know who our users were. This proved to be an interesting question as the answers varied greatly! Initially, our familiarity with the idea of a ‘patient navigator’ came from our work in the oncology setting. In this setting, having a resource like a patient navigator removed barriers to facilitating timely diagnosis and addressed inequalities that exist in cancer care. Our experience was that patient navigators were usually nurses with oncology nursing backgrounds, and our work with them led to the creation of pMD as a premiere care navigation platform for Oncology Care Model (OCM) participants.

While we’ve continued to work with Oncology practices and their nurse navigators, we’ve also been fortunate enough to expand the scope of our offering to support practices and health systems that work with other high-risk patient populations. More specifically, this includes populations that may be dealing with complex needs, multiple chronic diseases, immunodeficiency diseases, and behavioral health issues.

Care Navigation Models


What we’ve learned by working within these population domains, is that there are three distinct models when it comes to care navigation:

Nurse-Led:
- Oncology
- Complex Needs
- Multiple Chronic Diseases
- Immunodeficiency Diseases

Team-Based:
- Generally comprised of a patient navigator and other professionals (social workers, psychologist)
- Common in behavioral health
- Non-Professional: usually employed by a health system, provides general support to access services within a system, focus on reducing health disparity among specific or marginalized populations

Care Navigation Platform for All Working Toward Patient-Centered Care


The one thing that all care navigation models have in common is the fact that they are all working toward patient-centered care. Patients receive timely and appropriate guidance which empowers them to make better decisions and navigate through the services they need while improving their health literacy. Obviously, enabling patients is important but so is shared decision-making with a patient’s primary care provider. 80% of PCP’s in the U.S. are not confident in providing for the social needs of their patients such as transportation, housing, and access to nutritious food. When you realize that PCP’s are the central point of access to care coordination services for complex patients, you can start to see how a care navigation platform that is integrated across health settings can help the underserved.

Care navigation is obviously essential, and we’re looking forward to learning more about the differences between these models but most importantly, how they engage with the informal participants in a patient’s care. These informal participants are the ones who already provide significant care and support (family, friends, volunteers).

With the recent release of messaging with patients and upcoming enhancements to our secure messaging suite, we’re on the cusp of being able to support everyone who is contributing to the care navigation process - helping them communicate with one another, sharing care plans, and facilitating access to the resources they and their patients need most.


To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.