A bi-weekly newsletter from your physician organization
Friday, May 22, 2020
Communicate changes in practice procedures to patients
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing society into a ‘new normal’ that makes some people nervous. With so much still unknown about controlling the virus, many people don’t want to be around groups or in enclosed spaces with others. Concerns about the pandemic are pushing businesses to rethink procedures and policies to help alleviate the public’s fear. Physician practices are also challenged to evaluate and pivot their strategies for providing care to patients.
Have you updated procedures during the coronavirus pandemic? If so, be sure to let your patients know about changes ! Communicate with your patients on changes to practice hours and updated procedures. While mail and phone calls can help alert patients, consider using your website, patient portal, social media and any other communication channels. Especially now, people are online.
Make sure patients know if your practice is engaging in telemedicine . Many patients are interested in using telemedicine but don't know if their practice offers the option or when to use it. This flyer offers ideas for engaging patients in telemedicine and this patient education flyer can be posted to your website, patient portal or other patient communication channel. 
Patients trust their physicians to care for them and seeing a patient face-to-face is sometimes the best, or only, option for care. This means that it’s important for practices to assure patients that safety is a priority. Many physician practices are changing office procedures, cleaning schedules, even the layout of the office, to ensure the best protection of patients and staff while still offering in-person care.
Here are some examples of recent changes from local practices: 
  • A primary care practice offers office visits for well patients in the morning, closes the office at noon to clean, then sees sick non-COVID patients in the afternoon and cleans again in the evening. 
  • Patients are asked to call the office upon arrival at the parking lot and wait in their vehicle. Then the practice calls when it's time for the patient to enter the practice to be seen. This ensures minimal people are in waiting areas. 
  • An oncology office rearranged their infusion area to space out seating area, has minimal staff interact with these high-risk patients and does not allow visitors (unless medically necessary).
  • A medical assistant takes every patient’s temperature before the patient enters the office. If the patient has a fever, they are asked to immediately leave the practice and call from the parking lot for further instructions. An office staff person follows up the next day to check on the patient’s health.
  • Change the phone system hold message to promote telemedicine. Mention specific appointment ideas (chronic care management, some sick visits, etc.) with a call to action ("ask us how to schedule a telemedicine visit today!")
  • The scheduler/ front desk staff call all patients who have cancelled an appointment in the past 2 months OR who have a pending appointment in the next 1-4 months to advise of a telehealth option. At the time of contact, gather email and current phone numbers and label as smartphone or land line.
  • All patients (and caregivers) are asked to wear a mask/face covering when entering the practice. 
  • Consider floor markings in the practice to lead people to flow in a certain direction to avoid ‘bumping into’ others (pediatric practices can make it fun with animal prints!). The CDC developed a variety of free signs relating to the coronavirus, hand-washing, social distancing and more (many of these are available in different languages).
If your practice has established new procedures, please share your best practices so TPA can pass along to help other practices. Contact Heather with your stories and ideas. Thank you!
Community resource database goes mobile
NowPow, a community resource database, now has mobile-enabled access for easy use by practices.

A secure, HIPAA-compliant, electronic vetted database, NowPow provides community resources based upon a patient’s zip code location. The tool allows practices to share food, shelter, transportation, mental health support and other resources with patients through printed copies, email or text messages.
While there is not an official mobile app, NowPow is “mobile-enabled,” meaning all functionality works and is optimized for phone-based web browsers. View a quick guide showing how to easily access NowPow from an iOs or Android device.

Attend an upcoming webinar to learn how to find and share resources with your patients from NowPow.

Practices interested in accessing NowPow should complete this survey .
CDC releases advisory for COVID-related syndrome in children
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recently released a public health advisory for a coronavirus-related syndrome presenting in children. There have been several cases reported of a pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) in children associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19), leading to some hospitalizations. A few cases have been reported in Michigan.

There is currently limited information on this syndrome and the CDC requests that "healthcare providers report suspected cases to public health authorities to better characterize this newly recognized condition in the pediatric population."
New Affiliate Partner offers telecommunication solutions
Edge Solutions  is the latest Michigan-based company to join The Physician Alliance's Affiliate Partners program .

With extensive experience supporting medical technology, software products and operating systems, the company provides innovative  telecommunications products and services at discounted rates  to The Physician Alliance members. 

LIMITED TIME OFFER : The Physician Alliance members receive an  additional 10% off discounted products and services through July 31, 2020 . Click for details.

Edge Solutions can also help your practice with remote options, including:
  • Work from home options - With Edge Solutions' equipment, employees can simply take their desk phone set home, plug into their internet connection and the phone operates just like they are at the office! Calls can be forwarded and transferred too.
  • Mobile applications for cell phones - Edge Solutions' mobile app for Apple or Android phones emulates the desk phone set so you can be connected to the office wherever you are!
  • Remote voice mail retrieval
  • And more!

Exclusive program offers to The Physician Alliance membership  ( click for price sheet ):
  • Complimentary evaluation of current telephone systems and equipment
  • Discounted monthly services
  • Flat rate pricing for on-site service calls
  • Discounted hardware and rental fees

 Learn more today! Contact Walt Rush (888) 918.3343 or   walt@edgesolutionsllc.net
MSMS releases advocacy alert for liability bill
Michigan State Medical Society requests physicians contact their state representative to support S.B.899, which provides healthcare workers immunity regarding medical liability to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to view the advocacy alert abstract from MSMS. Read the entire bill (recommended) by clicking here or here .
Upcoming education webinars focus on business, quality & more
Upcoming education webinars help with business practices, quality programs and coding.

Reshaping Your Business In These Uncertain Times webinar - REGISTER
Friday, May 29, 3pm
Learn how to navigate these uncertain business times:
  • How to recover and rebuild
  • Clarify your business purpose in the midst of change
  • Rethinking how to measure success for now

Hosted by Chase Bank

Quality/PDCM/Wellcentive ADT 2020 series webinar - REGISTER
Tuesday, June 9, 12-1pm
Get updates on these topics. Q&A time included. 

Hosted by The Physician Alliance

Lunch with the Coder: Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) coding - REGISTER
Wednesday, June 10, 12-1pm
Learn valuable insights about:
  • The importance of chronic conditions in care coordination
  •  HCC coding, concepts, and documentation examples
  •  What a risk adjustment factor score says about a patient
  •  Ways to keep HCC coding applicable for your practice

Hosted by The Physician Alliance
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Featured Affiliate Partner: REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT - Coronis Health provides revenue cycle management solutions to help improve reimbursement. TPA members receive 10% off current plan pricing.

Learn more about this partner.