Clinically Integrated Network Briefing

Help Needed To Address COVID-19 Surge: Telehealth and Testing
A Message for the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network, including primary and specialty care physicians, practice administrators, Network leaders (Presidents, Administrators, and Medical Directors) and Network staff
January 7, 2022
I commend all you are doing amid the challenges we face with staffing and other problems brought on by the pandemic. Even though we have not had a statewide shut down, as with the last COVID-19 peak, our health care system is being overwhelmed. And much like the first time we did things differently, we need to do things differently again. I respectfully ask that you consider the following:
(1) Expand office hours and telehealth services to reduce volumes at urgent care sites and emergency rooms. The state’s emergency departments and the urgent care centers are overwhelmed with patients. Please encourage use of your telehealth services – and offer expanded office hours – to provide patients with prompt access to care and assist our clinical colleagues in addressing unprecedented patient volumes. Telehealth visits also reduce the risk of infection transmission to both patients and health care personnel. For patients, it’s not just the visit itself that imposes risk; the travel to the office may also expose patients to possible COVID-19 infection. Remember that primary care (as well as behavioral health and chronic disease management) have reimbursement rate parity between telehealth and face to face visits by statute until fall of 2023. 

(2) Carefully evaluate testing you really need to make the next treatment step. When you do decide to order testing, please do so through your office, at an outpatient service site or at a state testing site. For those of you who are already doing this, I commend you. For others who might not be doing this as much, or at all, please consider a change in your care process. Wellforce is actively engaging with the state to facilitate testing and a message to the public on when to use the Emergency room or Urgent Care.
We are facing extraordinary times, which requires changes in our usual approach to problems. I appreciate all of your efforts and thank you for the compassion you continue to show to your patients and each other.
Thank you,
Frank Osborn M.D.
Interim Chief Medical Officer
NOW AVAILABLE: COVID-19 Update Webinar
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Mark Your Calendar: Programs for Our Network
EpicCare Link Orientation Session
(Multiple times) Beginning Tuesday, January 11
Recommended Attendees: Private practice physicians and staff members not implementing the Wellforce instance of Epic, but interested in learning more about Web-based access to Epic (EpicCareLink).
New Year Risk Coding Webinar 
Wednesday, January 19: Noon - 1 p.m.
A recording of this session will be available here.
Missed the last COVID-19 Network Briefing? Click here.
The Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network is a distinctively different population health enterprise and value-based care contracting entity. It comprises 2,300 primary care and specialist physicians and advanced practice clinicians, in private and employed practices, working in community and hospital settings. The Network’s purpose is to build healthier communities and to create healthy, rewarding experiences for our participating physicians and care teams. The Network was launched in July 2021 by building upon the legacies of two long-standing, high-performing organizations – Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization and New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA).