The pMD Blog

Welcome to the
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.

POSTS BY TAG | news



Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The health care system is facing an unprecedented crisis, but accurate COVID-19 coding and billing can help providers weather the storm and prepare for future outbreaks. Everyone is quickly adapting to a world in which COVID-19 exists and that includes creating new codes for the novel coronavirus. Using these codes and new documentation guidelines that come with them will be critical to tackling COVID-19 and the challenges associated with it.  Read More

CMS issued guidance this week allowing independent freestanding emergency departments to provide care to Medicare patients and bill for those services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under current law, independent freestanding EDs are not recognized as certified Medicare providers, meaning they cannot bill Medicare and Medicaid for services rendered. However, CMS is making an exception during the pandemic as a way to increase hospital capacity.  Read More

Hospitals are set to get $75 billion in the next round of emergency funding for the country's COVID-19 response as the Senate approved legislation this week. According to CMS, the second round will be targeted to reach providers in hot spots, and those not included previously. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act also allocate another $25 billion for expanding and administering COVID-19 testing for active infection and prior exposure as well as conducting surveillance and contact tracing.  Read More

Close to half of doctors are now using telehealth to treat patients as the COVID-19 pandemic changes practice patterns and how physicians deliver care. That's up from 18 percent of physicians using telemedicine two years ago. The impact on physicians from COVID-19 will be transformative, fundamentally changing how and where physicians practice. If there's a silver lining to the pandemic, it could be that barriers to accessing physician services through telemedicine will be removed, which will be critical as the nation deals with a growing physician shortage.  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:


Tech giants Google and Apple have teamed up to create technology to help health officials trace who’s been infected by COVID-19, and are building it directly into iOS and Android. Public health authorities will soon be able to tell when people are near each other by using signals picked up from their smartphones and automate a process to contact those who might have been exposed.  Read More

CMS is nearly doubling Medicare payment for high-production coronavirus lab tests in efforts to boost COVID-19 testing capacity and monitoring in nursing home communities and other coronavirus hotspots. CMS will reimburse the higher payment of $100 for COVID-19 clinical diagnostic lab tests that can process more than 200 specimens per day starting April 14, 2020, through the duration of the national emergency.  Read More

Stuck at home, clinicians and patients are turning to telehealth rather than in-person visits; an approach to health care that could result in long term benefits after the pandemic is under control. This shift to virtual care has been on the horizon for some time, but COVID-19 has ushered in this new wave of telemedicine with increased urgency. If you are looking for silver lining, it could be that virtual care will become a much more integral part of our lives, which will ultimately lead to better and more accessible care.  Read More

Many hospital finances are on life support as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. They are facing a one-two punch of financial struggles with a rise in patients seeking care for COVID-19, a lot of which is uncompensated, and a steep drop in the number of other procedures performed. These extraordinary pressures are putting hospitals, particularly in rural areas, at increased risk of closure.  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: NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled a new $200 million program to help fund telehealth programs for qualifying providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations would get full funding for approved services and devices "necessary to provide critical connected care" until funds are exhausted or until the pandemic has subsided. Interested providers can take three steps immediately to prepare to apply for this COVID-19 Telehealth Program.  Read More

Since the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December, the infectious respiratory disease COVID-19 has spread rapidly throughout the globe. There are now over 1.5 million confirmed cases and more than 85,000 deaths worldwide, with the U.S. accounting for nearly 500,000 cases. NPR offers an interactive map to track the global spread of the virus.  Read More

As revenues for health systems have dwindled they have been forced to furlough more and more workers. In an effort to provide relief CMS delivered nearly $34 billion in advance and accelerated payments to providers over the past week, reducing the processing time to four to six days. These payments are available to Medicare Part A providers such as hospitals, and suppliers in Part B such as doctors and durable medical equipment suppliers. These payments are separate from the $100 billion in funds passed as part of the economic stimulus package.  Read More

The mental health aspect of a disaster oftentimes gets left behind. Especially for first responders and medical personnel, more attention should be given on this subject. As they confront the coronavirus pandemic, frontline health care workers are at especially high risk for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Disaster response expert Regardt "Reggie" Ferreira, PhD, offers his perspective on the mental health impact on healthcare workers during the 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:


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Source: NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


As the coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising Americans to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak in their community. Suggestions include avoiding crowds, wiping down surfaces, putting plans in place for school closures, and more. It is not time to panic, but a little preparation never hurt anyone.  Read More

A checkup for $30, teeth Cleaning for $25, counseling for $1 per hour; these are just some of the services being offered by Walmart at their new health centers. It won’t be easy to persuade Americans to entrust their health to a big-box discount retailer. Still, consumers are clearly clamoring for affordable health care options, which companies like Walmart and CVS are ready to give a shot. Read More

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the majority of total healthcare spending is actually concentrated in a tiny percentage of the population. In fact, just five percent of the population accounted for more than half of total healthcare spending in 2017, with 22 percent coming from only one percent of the population.  Read More

While coronavirus has dominated the headlines, an estimated 29 million people in the U.S. have gotten the flu since early October, leading to nearly 16,000 deaths. To fight back, researchers are attempting to develop a universal flu vaccine — a single shot that would prevent multiple strains of influenza, including those that could cause future pandemics.  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:


Hearing music in an operating room during surgery is not uncommon, but it doesn’t usually come from the patient on the operating table. A video surfaced this week of a patient in London playing the violin as surgeons simultaneously removed her brain tumor. Woken up in the middle of the operation, the surgeons wanted to ensure they did not compromise parts of the brain necessary for playing the violin.  Read More

It has certainly been a bad flu season this year, but early signs suggest the vaccine is working, at least for one group. While this season's vaccine has been virtually ineffective against the Type A virus in younger adults, it has been more than 50 percent effective for kids. In all, the CDC estimates at least 14,000 Americans have already died of the flu this season.  Read More

Recruiting and retaining top physician talent is a perennial thorn in the side of health care executives, especially those in rural areas. But forget signing bonuses and relocation packages. According to three CEOs, when physicians evaluate job offers, they now place more weight on location factors such as an area's education system, the quality, and availability of housing, recreational activities, social events, restaurants, and shopping.  Read More

We continue to see an acceleration of rural hospitals shutting their doors, reaching a record-setting 19 last year. A recent report identified nine indicators to measure whether a hospital is likely to close, including occupancy rates, age of the facility, system affiliation, total revenue, and case mix index. While research has shown that states which have expanded Medicaid decreased the likelihood of closure by 70 percent on average, 14 states have still yet to do so.  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.