A bi-weekly newsletter from your physician organization
Friday, September 11, 2020
CMS seeks input on proposed Medicare physician fee schedule
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the 2021 Proposed Rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The public is invited to submit comments on this fee schedule until Oct. 5, 2020.

The Physician Alliance encourages physician members to review and submit any concerns/comments to CMS. There are many changes being proposed that will impact physician offices. While the thought of reviewing the Proposed Rule can be overwhelming, this is an important opportunity for stakeholders to provide information to CMS.

The proposed rule is a large document divided into several topics (in order of appearance in the document):
  • Telehealth and Other Services Involving Communications Technology (section II.D.)
  • Care Management Services and Remote Physiologic Monitoring Services (section II.E.)
  • Refinements to Values for Certain Services to Reflect Revisions to Payment for Office/Outpatient Evaluation and Management (E/M) Visits and Promote Payment Stability during the COVID-19 Pandemic (section II.F.)
  • Updates to Certified Electronic Health Record Technology due to the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule (section III.M.)
  • CY 2021 Updates to the Quality Payment Program (section IV.)

  • Review the final rules.
  • View a tip sheet with instructions on how to submit effective comments (attached)
  • Click here to submit your comment (Look for blue comment box and click)

Comments must be submitted by Oct. 5, 2020.

Register to use community resource database
There is still time to register for an upcoming training webinar to learn how to use NowPow, a HIPAA-compliant electronic database of local resources to support patient needs.
The user-friendly database allows practices to share community resources based upon a patient's zip code location. Examples include housing, food, medication assistance, mental health support, and transportation for appointments. Resources can be provided to patients through printed copies, email or text messages. Using NowPow to help address patients’ social determinants of health also allows a practice to be eligible for additional patient centered medical home capabilities to be added to a practice assessment.
Interested in using NowPow to help patients? Complete this registration form to get started. Once registered, TPA members can access NowPow at no cost after attending a training demonstration webinar to learn how to find information to meet patients’ needs, share with patients and more (current users can also attend a webinar for a refresher and to see new tools). Upcoming dates are below.

Finding and Sharing Resources Training Webinars
  • Thursday, Sep 17 at 4:00pm EST - register
  • Tuesday, Oct 6 at 1:00pm EST - register
  • Thursday, Oct 15 at 4:00pm EST - register
Additional Office Depot discounts in September
It's a great time to buy office and school supplies, check out new home office equipment or stock up on cleaning supplies for the practice. Office Depot offers a business savings program through TPA's Affiliate Partners program. TPA practices can save 10-50 percent on office supplies, equipment and more. Click here to view savings.

Office Depot is providing additional savings in September with these coupons.

Start saving:
  1. Office Depot Web Discount – Click on this link to start saving on office supplies and services.  
  2. Shop in store by texting TPACard to 844.446.6358 to get the store purchasing discount card on your phone.
  3. Click here to print the store discount savings card.
5 tips for performing a HIPAA risk assessment
HIPAA risk assessments can seem daunting, but they are essential to avoiding costly fines and detrimental security breaches. Here are five tips to help perform a HIPAA risk assessment:
  1. Choose your HIPAA Privacy and Security Officers wisely – The people you appoint as officers will be the go-to people for day to day privacy and security issues. They will also be the people who work with the Office of Civil Rights during an audit or following a breach. Make sure they know what they are doing and have a thorough understanding of what is required by HIPAA.
  2. Update your inventory often – Inventories are a comprehensive list of all hardware used to access, store or transmit personal health information (PHI). It is essential that you keep inventory up to date to know what devices are used to access PHI and also where devices are located at all times. If you have employees working remotely, make sure that they know to update the HIPAA Privacy and Security Officers as they access PHI with any new or different devices. 
  3. Keep your policies and procedures current and relevant – Make sure to create policies and procedures that are tailored to your entity. They should be complete and address all requirements of HIPAA. Don’t forget to include policies on training, sanctions, remote work, breaches, backups and encryption!
  4. Train your employees regularly – Train your employees at least annually, but also anytime there are updates to your policies or procedures. Always train new employees. Training is essential for your employees to be able to prepare for an audit and deal efficiently with a breach. 
  5. Conduct a penetration test – Penetration tests can be essential in determining the location of all of your PHI. These tests look at the network and determine vulnerability to hackers. As risks to healthcare data increase, penetration tests are more important than ever. 

Source: Rickard & Associates is a multi-specialty law firm serving corporate and individual clients with corporate transactional, litigation, and employee relations practices. An Affiliate Partner, Rickard offers TPA members premium services at a preferred rate.
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Ways you can save
Featured Affiliate Partner: PHYSICIAN MORTGAGE PROGRAM - Huntington Bank helps physicians and residents buy or refinance a home. This special program includes NO private mortgage insurance, prepayment penalty nor restrictions on residency. TPA members also closing cost discounts and more.

Learn more about this partner.