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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Rural health care providers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the loss in revenue from canceled or deferred elective procedures and the additional expense of personal protective equipment. In response, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is adding almost $200 million to a rural health care program to help providers invest in telehealth services.  Read More

The transition of care is a critical time for patient intervention to prevent readmissions and emergency room visits. Patients do not oftentimes understand their medication instructions at the time of discharge, so having a solid transition of care protocol is essential to reducing liability, avoiding readmissions, preventing costs, and having greater overall patient satisfaction.  Read More

Nearly half of primary care clinicians reported that their burnout is at an all-time high, largely due to financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey found. Plus, more than 60 percent of respondents said they've had "severe" or "near severe" stress levels in the last four weeks.  Read More

Providers participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2020 didn’t exactly plan on providing care during a global pandemic. Fortunately, CMS has bent the rules a bit for 2020, providing assistance in the wake of COVID-19. CMS announced it will not use data collected during the first six months of 2020 when calculating Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs.  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.

Source: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


For the first time, CMS is proposing to make temporary telehealth provisions under COVID-19 permanent. CMS has issued a proposed rule to make permanent regulatory changes to telecommunications technologies in providing care under the Medicare home health benefit beyond the expiration of the public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule is proposed to go into effect beginning January 1, 2021.  Read More

Hospitals lost an estimated $60 billion per month between March and June of 2020, and experts anticipate losses to continue well into the future. But some hospital systems are already seeing an incremental bounceback in operations. As health care systems reopen following the peak of COVID-19, leaders are leaning on technology and strategies that improve efficiency to ensure financial stability during the recession.  Read More

While Congress passed legislation that provided a combined $175 billion in funding for hospitals and other health care providers to help offset lost revenue and expenses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have yet to see a payment. According to a report released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, HHS has yet to distribute $72 billion, or 41 percent, of the approved funds.  Read More

As states begin to reopen after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, many physician practices are attempting to get back to normal. With this in mind, the American Medical Association (AMA) has produced a series of 12 recommendations to ensure that medical practices can reopen safely.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The coronavirus pandemic has shown the health care industry that it needs to decide whether it’s playing basketball or soccer, says journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell. The two sports exemplify the differences in thinking when one tackles problems using a “strong link” approach versus a “weak link” approach; either the team is as strong as its strongest, most high-profile players, or by contrast, the team is only as strong as its weakest players. For healthcare organizations, that means making investments in the weakest links.  Read More

The COVID-19 crisis has been a financial fiasco for physician practices, including decreased patient volume and canceled elective surgeries. While 97 percent of physician practices experienced a negative financial impact from the coronavirus, there are four key strategies practices can pursue to weather the financial storm. These include holding on to cash, not paying off debt right away, using government assistance, and applying for private loans.  Read More

While some health care merger and acquisition plans have fallen apart because of COVID-19, some providers are rethinking potential partnerships to survive the economic fallout of the pandemic. The crisis is putting pressure on health care mergers and acquisitions regardless of if the deals were planned prior to the pandemic or not. The pandemic is also prompting hospitals to shift their priorities to clinical and operational effectiveness to maintain stability. Read More

Hospital and physician spending has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic – so hard, in fact, that in April it reached its lowest point in more than a decade. A recent analysis shows a nearly 25 percent decline in spending, hitting a low of $2.88 trillion in April. With gradual reopening of the U.S. economy, experts anticipate a modest reversal of these spending declines due to more than half of patients reporting feeling at least somewhat safe about returning to the hospital for elective procedures.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance for re-opening facilities to provide non-emergent, non-COVID-19 health care. First and foremost, facilities should check with their State and local authorities to confirm if gating criteria have been met as well as continue to use telehealth services, when available and appropriate, to minimize the need for in-person services. CMS also released guidance for patients to help identify when and how to return to health care facilities.  Read More

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UPMC saw its telehealth volume skyrocket from around 1,000 telemedicine visits per week to nearly 47,500 virtual visits per week. The value of virtual care has not gone unnoticed by leadership, and the health system has set a lofty goal to maintain at minimum 50 percent of that growth, about 7,500 virtual visits per day. To help sustain that goal UPMC's chief medical information officer Robert Bart, MD, is focused on opportunities in urgent care, post-operative and prenatal care.  Read More

Although health care organizations have endured a global health crisis that has severely taxed their bottom lines, there are areas for growth coming out of the pandemic. One unintended consequence of the crisis that can serve as an opportunity could be for large, well-capitalized health systems to partner or acquire community hospitals—which are already at high risk for closure—as patients continue to out-migrate to care sites beyond the community they live in. Read More

Many providers and patients have apparently not only grown comfortable with the exemptions for telehealth but believe it's the best approach for delivering basic health care services until the coronavirus is completely tamed and beyond. This week two more groups, the American College of Physicians, an influential lobbying group, and Premier, a major group purchasing organization for hospitals and other providers, advocated for extending relaxed restrictions on a more permanent basis.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent a letter to CMS advocating for broad access to telehealth to become permanent. The FTC believes strongly that telehealth can reduce roadblocks to care for older adults across both rural and urban settings, including urban areas where underserved populations have provider shortages. Many experts consider reducing restrictions on Medicare reimbursement of telehealth services especially important because Medicare influences the reimbursement policies of state Medicaid programs and private payers as well.  Read More

Providers are still struggling to adapt to consistently and successfully collecting from patients according to the Trends in Healthcare Payments Annual Report. The long-term impacts of COVID-19 are predicted to bring an additional spotlight to eradicating manual, paper-based, human-dependent approaches to payments. Providers are being forced to rethink all the options to connect with consumers as the recent growth telehealth has shown.  Read More

Telehealth claim lines increased more than 4,000% nationally from March 2019 to March 2020, growing from 0.17% of medical claim lines to 7.52% over that time. With fewer elective procedures due to widespread restrictions, the telehealth share of total medical claim lines is expected to continue to increase greatly. Telehealth had already been growing in recent years, but even faster growth is on the horizon as a result of COVID-19. Read More

In an effort to ensure participation in value-based care payment models as providers struggle financially under the pandemic, CMS outlined a series of major changes intended to address problems created by COVID-19. These updates include delaying the start of a new accountable care organization (ACO) model, extending the Next-Gen ACO model, and more.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Can patients be as satisfied with virtual interactions as they are with in-person encounters? According to a new Press Ganey survey of more than 30,000 respondents, that answer is yes. The rapid adoption of telehealth has in fact enabled caregivers to meet the needs of patients with the same levels of attentiveness, expertise, and empathy provided during an in-office visit. Patients have been overwhelmingly positive about their virtual interactions with their care providers, even when technical issues posed challenges. Read More

Psychologists say anxiety and uncertainty prompt irrational decisions — like turning down a transplant when an organ becomes available. In a world seeded with anxiety, fear is gripping not just people who are ill with the coronavirus but those in urgent need of other medical care. Even as the number of COVID-19 cases declines in many places, patients with cancer, heart disease, and strokes, among others, are delaying or forgoing critical procedures that could keep them alive.  Read More

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on hospital finances in the last couple of months, with organizations reporting volume declines of up to 99 percent for some revenue-driving procedures. Nearly two-thirds of surveyed hospital executives expect full-year revenues will decline by at least 15 percent due to the outbreak. Given the financial pressures on provider organizations, almost 30 percent of surveyed executives said the outbreak has increased the likelihood that their organization pursues a merger or a new partnership. Read More

As physicians around the country are working to get their practices up and running again many are thinking about measures to keep patients and employees safe. Building upon the CMS phase one guide for reopening healthcare facilities, the AMA developed a comprehensive checklist for providers to follow to ensure medical practices are ready for reopening.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


This week CMS releases Medicare payment rates for COVID-19 test CPT Codes. The AMA introduced three new CPT codes, 87635, 86769, and 86328, which can be used by healthcare providers and laboratories to bill payers for testing patients for SARS-CoV2.  Medicare will pay $51.31, $42.13, and $45.23, respectively for the codes.  Read More

Telehealth is more in demand than ever during the coronavirus crisis, and a new report from Frost & Sullivan suggests its uptake will increase by 64.3 percent nationwide this year, given the disruptions of COVID-19. Researchers predict that the pandemic will continue to reshape care delivery – and open big opportunities for virtual care in the near-term future.  Read More

More than 70 percent of consumers have already delayed or plan to put off health procedures due to COVID-19, according to a new survey. The survey underscores the issues providers face in convincing consumers to return for in-person care that has been delayed due to the pandemic. While the majority of consumers may be nervous about seeing a doctor, nearly half of the respondents reported feeling very comfortable picking up a prescription at their local pharmacy.  Read More

When commercial payers and providers come to the negotiating table this year, they will do so during a pandemic. The unprecedented financial and public health challenges payers and providers face will, in turn, affect the types of agreements they strike. Jackie Selby, a member of the national law firm Epstein Becker Green, outlines five trends that may affect payer-provider contract negotiations given the COVID-19 pandemic, including shoring up lost revenue for providers.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


For years, revenue cycle executives have talked about modernization, but in many health care organizations, a lack of time, money, or will—or all three—have stood in the way of moving forward. Projects once on the back burner, such as having a remote workforce, paperless patient communications, and electronic signatures, have now been pushed into the spotlight and implemented faster out of necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Read More

Telehealth has become a go-to for health care providers and patients as they navigate the logistical and practical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many health care organizations, the utilization figures have been staggering, going from a few virtual visits per week to several hundred per day in many cases. Overall, the general consensus when it comes to telehealth during the pandemic has been very positive, which will likely keep telehealth in the spotlight well after the pandemic is over.  Read More

• While you may be concerned about how patients are feeling when it comes to returning to your office during the coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to forget what your staff is going through as well. They most likely feel a driving need to help while at the same time are quite nervous about staying safe themselves. When reopening your practice it is important to remember that your staff may feel uneasy once they come back and realize the office they imagined will not be the same.  Read More

• As hospitals and physician practices struggle to make up lost revenue due to canceled visits and procedures a new survey found that a majority of consumers are expected to spend less on healthcare visits or prescription drugs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers with complex chronic illness and those in healthy families were more likely than other groups to say they would adjust their spending on health care visits or medications.  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.

Source: HealthLeaders

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) are offering up some guidance for how providers should code and bill COVID-19 care delivered in alternate inpatient settings such as parking lots and convention centers. New diagnosis and billing codes have been introduced to capture these activities and ensure proper payment, but clinicians and insurers are struggling to keep up with seemingly constant changes in how they are expected to bill and adjudicate claims.  Read More

The American Hospital Association projects that the nation's hospitals will see $202.6 billion in losses through the end of June due to the coronavirus pandemic. America's hospitals and health systems have stepped up in heroic and unprecedented ways to meet the challenges caused by COVID-19. However, the fight against this virus has created the greatest financial crisis in history for hospitals and health systems.  Read More

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a significant financial toll on practices. But where can private practices that are or think they will soon be in a financial bind because of the COVID-19 crisis turn for help? For starters, many practices are asking banks to extend their lines of credit, which have become much more flexible. Other options include tapping into the CARES Act or an SBA loan.  Read More

Telehealth is no longer just a nice-to-have, but instead a must-have for patients and health care professionals during these uncertain times. While we all wish that it hadn’t taken a pandemic to propel telehealth forward, for better or for worse, it has. Telehealth was already experiencing significant momentum and growth prior to this public health emergency and it has become quite clear the ever-evolving power of telehealth will be one of those solutions that become part of our new normal.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


This week CMS issued another round of sweeping regulatory waivers and rule changes to deliver expanded care during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as making it easier for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to get tested for COVID-19 and continued expansion for access to telehealth services. Changes to telehealth include waiving limitations on the types of clinical practitioners that can bill for telehealth services, broadening the scope of audio-only visits, and more.  Read More

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dramatically affect health practices across the country, it is important for practices to take a step back and ensure their internal processes and administrative workflows are prepared for the coming weeks and months. By reviewing and planning at a fundamental level, practices will be better prepared to address any challenges that COVID-19 presents. A few tips include optimizing administrative processes, expanding telehealth utilization, and readjust revenue and cash flow forecasts.  Read More

The American Medical Association (AMA) has published new guidelines to help physicians provide care during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Seventeen separate documents have been shared so far, with more to follow, as questions continue to emerge. Example guidelines include issues such as “graduating early to join the physician workforce,” “prescribing medications responsibly in a pandemic,” and “access and health equity during a pandemic.”  Read More

Earlier this week CMS said it would no longer expedite Medicare payments to doctors and be more stringent about accelerating the payments to hospitals as well. The agency is not accepting any new applications for the loans from Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners, and durable medical equipment suppliers. CMS will continue to process pending and new requests from Part A providers, including hospitals, but be stricter with application approvals.  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.