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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


There’s nothing more frustrating than rendering services and not being paid. Sometimes the problem can come down to a single code. Brushing up on common coding mistakes helps avoid costly recoupments and denials, so coding experts have weighed in on how physicians can maintain compliance and collect all the revenue to which they’re entitled. Read More

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, Americans are avoiding preventive care, including vaccinations and colonoscopies. While care that could not be avoided, such as childbirth in hospitals continued, demand for care that could be delayed has declined significantly. While some health experts had predicted the declines would be followed by a spike in demand for preventive care, that has not happened yet.  Read More

Up and down the West Coast, hospitals and health facilities are reporting an influx of patients with problems most likely related to smoke inhalation. As fires rage, smoke and ash are making even ordinary breathing difficult. With flu season also on the horizon, it creates a major problem as facilities already strapped for testing supplies and personal protective equipment must first rule out COVID-19 in these patients. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms are the same as those caused by the virus.  Read More

Last week the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) floated some new policy ideas for keeping telehealth coverage and reimbursement expansions after the pandemic. One such idea is to allow clinicians who participate in Advanced Alternative Payment Models (A-APMs) to continue providing telehealth services to patients outside of rural areas and to patients in their homes.  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.

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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The coronavirus pandemic not only accelerated the expansion of traditional approaches to telehealth, but it has also ignited new ways to use existing technology. Numerous health care systems are employing telehealth solutions to deliver virtual care inside the hospital walls. Providers at UW Health are now conducting virtual rounds and will continue to do so after the COVID-19 crisis.  Read More

Experts predict the COVID-19 public health crisis will push the industry further away from fee-for-service reimbursement and towards value-based care. Long term, it seems inevitable that the pandemic will drive the transition to value-based care, but in the interim, the coronavirus is actually impeding the conversations due to the lack of financial stability, which is essential to make this transition a reality.  Read More

Shortly after releasing the 2021 CPT code set, the American Medical Association (AMA) added two more codes related to COVID-19, including one that accounts for the extra safety protocols providers are taking to care for patients during the global pandemic. This update is the latest in a series of modifications to the CPT codes set to meet the needs of the health care industry as medical advancements expand the fight against COVID-19.  Read More

HHS released a plan this week to enhance rural health care services as the pandemic continues to highlight the steep health care barriers these regions face. While the plan falls short of the complete overhaul some experts say the problem requires, it includes steps to significantly expand the availability of telehealth services and directs the federal government to provide more than $8.7 million in grant funding for virtual emergency care consults.  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.

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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Washington-based health system Providence St. Joseph Health has launched a $50 million investment over the next five years aimed at reducing racial disparities in health care. The initiative will start by focusing on disparities that have been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 51-hospital system will leverage its existing system and regional tools to partner with communities and hopes to ensure equitable distribution of treatment and a vaccine for the virus when it becomes available.  Read More

A new survey shows that confusion over COVID-19 coding and claim requirements is one of the top impacts the pandemic has had on revenue cycle operations. The most cited impact was unpredictable work/claim volumes, followed closely by an increase in workloads due to confusion over codes and requirements for COVID-19-related claims.  Read More

As COVID-19 continues to spread, an increasing number of rural communities in the U.S. find themselves without their hospital or on the brink of losing already cash-strapped facilities. This is a dangerous scenario, in fact, A study last year found that death rates in the surrounding communities increase nearly 6% after a rural hospital closes — and that's when there's not a pandemic.  Read More

Health care industry groups have been chewing on the challenge of accurate patient matching for years, but it has been particularly relevant to the current COVID-19 crisis. Incorrect patient data can have a significant negative impact on the timeliness of the public health response. Some public health nurses have even had to rely on Google searches to try and correctly identify patients in order to get them their COVID-19 test results.  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.

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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


U.S. health officials have sparked a wave of confusion after posting guidelines that coronavirus testing is not necessary for people who have been in close contact with infected people. The new guidance was posted earlier this week on the CDC website. Across the country, public health experts called the change bizarre, noting that testing contacts of infected people are a core element of public health efforts considering as many as 40 percent of cases exhibit no symptoms.  Read More

Hospitals will now be required to submit daily critical information on COVID-19, including bed capacity and the availability of essential supplies. CMS released an emergency regulation this week calling for mandatory reporting. The agency also posted new requirements for lab reporting and revised policy for physician and pharmacist orders of COVID-19 tests.  Read More

COVID-19 has put a focus on the need for a more expedient and safer way for hospital staff to talk to one another. More effective communication is needed to move information quicker about a patient who is in the emergency room to the EHR and proper caregivers, in order to know what level of care is required and if an isolation room is necessary.  Read More

Providers may need to keep track of two different times when reporting the new CPT add-on code for prolonged services in 2021. CMS will not follow the time ranges that the AMA released in its guidelines for office E/M visits and prolonged services. The proposed add-on code, currently held by placeholder code 99XXX, will be used to report prolonged office or other E/M services that require at least 15 minutes of total time either with or without direct patient contact on the date of the primary E/M service.  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.

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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


In an effort to combat fraud, starting next month, providers that want to get Medicare payments for treating a patient with COVID-19 must include a positive test in that patient’s medical record. The test must be performed within 14 days of admission, and the results must be documented in the patient’s medical record. CMS has applied a 20% add-on Medicare payment for inpatient hospital COVID-19 patients, but without evidence of the positive test result, providers will not be eligible.  Read More

• COVID-19 hasn't just taken healthcare delivery virtual, it may also be changing the way doctors practice medicine, according to a recent survey. More than 60 percent of doctors surveyed said they value tools for remote monitoring their patients at home more than they did prior to the pandemic, with nearly one in five expecting that asking patients to self-administer their care may be a permanent change.  Read More

CMS is poised to eliminate most of the temporary codes created during the coronavirus pandemic to expand connected health. According to the proposed 2021 Physician Fee Schedule, CMS is planning to keep just nine codes added during the COVID-19 crisis, while adding an additional 13 new codes. But that means 74 codes are slated to end when the public health emergency is over.  Read More

HHS will distribute $1.4 billion in COVID-19 relief funds to children's hospitals around the country, with each hospital receiving 2.5 percent of their net revenue from patient care. The funding will ensure the 80 freestanding children's hospitals receive the financial relief they urgently need to offset revenue losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.  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:


Health care delivery tomorrow will look much different than today for a variety of reasons. Consumer expectations, the emergence of non-traditional players, and a move to value-based care are among the driving forces. Yet nearly all advancements ride on the backbone of technology and the ability to harness a massive quantity of data now being produced.  Read More

This week CMS announced a new payment model to provide up-front investments and capitated payments to healthcare organizations in rural areas. Through this new model, CMS aims to address disparities by providing a way for rural communities to transform their health care delivery systems by leveraging innovative financial arrangements as well as operational and regulatory flexibilities.  Read More

While many providers are starting to see their patient volume levels return to pre-pandemic levels, most physicians and advanced practice providers are still concerned about the effect COVID-19 will have on visits and care. Nearly three-quarters of health care providers in a recent survey are concerned that the rise in newly uninsured patients will continue to keep people away from routine visits and elective procedures.  Read More

Physicians and health policy experts say the pandemic is accelerating efforts to restructure primary care, which accounts for about half the nation’s doctor visits every year. The remedy being most widely promoted is to change the way doctors are reimbursed, away from the predominant system today, under which doctors are paid a fee for every service they provide.  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:


Seniors have embraced technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, from booking virtual visits with their doctors to ordering their prescriptions online. In fact, telemedicine usage jumped 340 percent among Medicare-eligible seniors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic according to a new survey. To top it all off, almost half of the seniors also admitted to binge-watching content and cheers-ing at virtual happy hours. Read More

It’s become clear that meeting the increasing demand for mental health services as a result of the pandemic will not be possible using traditional methods. Developments in teletherapy will undoubtedly open access to mental health treatments for more patients and could be the first phase of a broader revolution in psychiatry; one that allows care to become more preventative, reactive, and empathic to the needs of the population via technology.  Read More

While media coverage of the pandemic has focused on overwhelmed hospital workers on the front lines, less attention has been paid to some hospital emergency departments seeing far fewer patients as many avoid the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Hospital emergency department visits actually dropped by more than 40 percent during the first weeks of the pandemic.  Read More

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is extending the second phase application deadline to Friday, August 28 for general distribution to Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, Children's Health Insurance Program and dental providers. The department will distribute $15 billion from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to providers that didn't receive funding in the first round.  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:


As the COVID-19 pandemic isolates patients, virtual care has proven to be a lifeline for patients who need behavioral health services. In fact, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, providers have conducted 1.1 million virtual mental health visits with more than 350,000 veterans this year. The continued use of virtual services could help open up access to behavioral health treatment for millions of patients, leading to a potential breakthrough in overall outcomes and medical spending.  Read More

CMS will begin recouping accelerated Medicare loans it sent as COVID-19 relief as early as Monday, which could exacerbate the financial stress on hospitals and doctor's offices as the pandemic worsens. Despite pleading for loan forgiveness or relaxed repayment terms, providers that received loans won't receive Medicare reimbursement from their claims until the amount of the loan they received is reduced to zero.  Read More

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly increased demand for home-based medical care. Particularly for patients who are older and frail, this model of care has provided a viable alternative to urgent care centers and emergency rooms to reduce the risk of infection. Like telemedicine, the shift to more home-based medical care has been accelerated due to COVID-19 and is anticipated to continue to grow long after the pandemic.  Read More

COVID-19 has placed unprecedented stress upon the health care system, but we may not see the most significant impacts for a couple of years. Analyses predict a gap in Medicare revenues during the next three years of close to $150 billion. Also, expected reductions in state tax revenue will make sustaining current Medicaid program funding increasingly tricky. The pandemic has created a perfect storm to alter our system for financing health care long-term.  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:


While physicians are utilizing telehealth to treat their patients during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, many still have outstanding questions about how to accurately code and document those visits. Health care business consultant Elizabeth W. Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, an expert on coding and documentation, breaks down the answers.  Read More

As coronavirus numbers in the United States are exponentially increasing, health care leaders are extremely concerned about how this will play out in the coming months. With potential problems in the PPE supply chain, the upcoming flu-season, and a viable vaccine yet to be finalized, health care systems and providers are bracing for a tough battle ahead.  Read More

HHS will be sending an additional $4 billion in funding to hospitals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the bulk of the funds will go to safety-net hospitals, HHS is expanding the criterion for payment for the next disbursement. In addition, more than $1 billion of the new funds will go to rural hospitals and other health care providers in small metropolitan areas.  Read More

An operating room isn't exactly the easiest place to follow social distancing guidelines in the age of COVID-19. Using 5G network technology, doctors in Italy recently demonstrated that telesurgery could now be a valuable and reliable tool in allowing surgeons to do just that. Surgeons performed surgery on a cadaver's vocal cords from nearly 10 miles away over a wireless 5G network.  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 volume of telehealth claim lines increased more than 8,335 percent in April 2020 compared to last year as the pandemic continues to drive utilization, according to a recent analysis of insurance trends. Mental health diagnoses continue to drive the visits, followed by joint and soft tissue conditions and hypertension, suggesting more privately insured patients turned to telehealth to manage chronic conditions during the pandemic.  Read More

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in parts of the U.S., many primary care practices are not ready to address the current surge or a second wave predicted to come in the fall. At the same time, practices are reopening to in-person visits because of uncertainty about the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on their practice financially.  Read More

Earlier this week CMS released details about the second-year performance results of the Quality Payment Program's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which determined payment adjustments for clinicians in 2020. Overall, the results are very positive with 98 percent of clinicians avoiding a negative payment adjustment, while 84 percent earned an "exceptional performance" designation, resulting in positive payment adjustments.  Read More

While overall, people are moving less throughout the day since the onset of the pandemic, FitBit reported that the amount of purposeful activity is actually going up, leading to statistically significant decreases in things like resting heart rate. The billions of data points that wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch collect can do a lot more than simply tell us how we're spending our time during the pandemic, and could perhaps even help detect COVID-19 earlier.  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.