A bi-weekly newsletter from your physician organization
Friday, December 4, 2020
Flu vaccine can help patients and healthcare system
There is still time to encourage patients to receive a flu vaccination this season. With the coronavirus pandemic still rapidly spreading across Michigan and the country, a population vaccinated against the flu can help.

While the flu vaccine won't protect against COVID-19, it can help minimize those getting sick and lower flu-related deaths. The flu season and pandemic also poses a double threat to an already strained healthcare system. The CDC estimates that increasing the number of people vaccinated by even by five percent could prevent thousands of hospitalizations due to the flu.

Current pandemic precautions of hand washing, social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding crowds can also help reduce the spread of flu.

MDHHS created resources for healthcare providers relating to the flu and flu vaccine.

The CDC has a "Fight Flu" Toolkit for healthcare providers. The toolkit includes
  • tips for talking to patients and parents about the flu vaccine
  • appointment reminder email templates
  • sample social media content
  • and more!
New quality improvement guidelines released
The Michigan Quality Improvement Consortium recently released a number of updated evidence-based guidelines. These updates relate to a variety of health issues.

Examples include childhood overweight and obesity prevention, pre/post-natal care, low back pain and depression. These guidelines outline evidence-based recommendations. Many recommendations align with clinical quality measures programs to help support providers with quality measurement improvement.

Click here to view the 2020 updated quality guidelines (click on Date Updated in the table to sort by newest/2020).
Learn about new codes coming in 2021
Don't miss the final education program of 2020!

Lunch with the Coder: CPT Updates for 2021
Wednesday, Dec. 9; 12-1pm

New CPT code updates are going into effect in the new year! Reviewing code changes in preparation of the effective date can help avoid claim denials and prevent revenue cycle interruptions. Get ready for these changes by attending this informative webinar. Here’s what to expect:
  • Attendees will be provided all procedural coding updates.
  • Medical coders will get a bit of a reprieve next year when it comes to learning new procedure codes since the CPT Editorial Panel approved fewer new codes for 2021 than usual.
  • Evaluation and management (E&M) guideline changes going into effect Jan. 1, 2021 will also be discussed.
  • Q&A available

Register now. This event is complimentary and open to TPA members only.
Four ways to reduce answering service costs
We're all looking for ways to be more efficient and reduce costs these days. Here are four ways to reduce your answering service costs.

1. Switch Away from Phone Calls
If you remember one tip, this is the one: Outgoing calls from the answering service to your team are the most inefficient and expensive way to receive messages. When your answering service calls the on-call provider, the clock starts as the number is dialed.
  • Each ring takes 6 seconds. If they answer within 3 rings, you've already used 18 seconds.
  • Assuming the provider is ready to write down the message, plan on 1-2 minutes being used.

So, at best, phone calls average 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. Multiply this by the number of outgoing calls per month and costs add up fast.

2. Use Secure Texting
Receive the entire message instantly with secure texting apps. The provider can text back to clear the message without calling the answering service back to clear messages.

3. Update On-Call Schedules Online
Instead of emailing, faxing or calling the answering service with on-call changes, switch to web on-call. Relaying on-call changes manually to the answering service will drive up your bill. You are charged for the time their team spends entering on-call information into their system. The good news is that using web on-call eliminates all these charges!

4. Screen Routine Calls with Voicemail Pre-screen
Your office hours may have changed during COVID-19. Using voicemail pre-screen to inform patients of these changes can drastically reduce answering service costs. It is also a great tool to screen callers looking for office hours, prescription refills or other routine calls. Pre-screen can reduce answering service cost upwards of 40 percent.

Source: Ambs Call Center is one of TPA's Affiliate Partners, offering exclusive discounts to members. Find out more about their services, features and pricing.
The latest healthcare news
Ways you can save
Featured Affiliate Partner: TELEPHONE SOLUTIONS & SERVICES - Edge Solutions delivers quality telecommunication products and services at discounted rates to The Physician Alliance members. A complimentary evaluation of current telephone systems and equipment, discounted monthly services and more are available.

Learn more about this partner.