A bi-weekly newsletter from your physician organization
Friday, April 8, 2021
COVID-19 vaccine registration opens to ages 16 & older
A reminder that all Michiganders age 16 and up are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The state's new goal is to vaccinate 100,000 Michiganders every day. Please encourage your patients, staff, family and friends to sign up for this safe, effective vaccine.

Here are helpful resources in the state to get people registered for the vaccine:

  • Check local health department or health system websites to find out their process or for registration forms (map of local health departments)
  • Check additional vaccination sites, such as local pharmacies like MeijerRiteAidKrogerCVSWalmart (Mid/Central and Northern MI) or Snyder Drugs (U.P. residents)
  • To register for the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids go to West Michigan Vaccine Clinic (spectrumhealth.org)
  • Registration for the Regional Community Vaccination Site at Ford Field in Detroit is available here or text EndCOVID to 75049
  • Residents who don't have access to the internet or who need assistance navigating the vaccine scheduling process can call the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 (press 1) Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am-1pm
Vaccines causing swollen lymph nodes, mammogram concerns
Female patients receiving the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to wait a few weeks after their vaccine to get a screening mammogram, according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Temporary swollen lymph nodes from the vaccine have caused false positives on mammograms, leading to additional unnecessary tests and emotional distress. Swollen lymph nodes were reported occasionally after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. While temporary swollen lymph nodes can be a normal side effect from vaccines, swollen lymph nodes on a mammogram can be signs of cancer, inflammation or infection.

Patients may want to delay a screening mammogram a few weeks post-vaccine (4-6 weeks is recommended wait time). However, mammograms should only be postponed if the delay won't have a negative impact on a patient's health. The CDC and other health organizations are encouraging patients to talk to their doctors about whether to delay a screening mammogram.

It's a good opportunity to reach out to patients to remind them to schedule this screening (and the COVID-19 vaccine). Encourage patients to let the breast imaging center know if they have recently received a COVID-19 vaccine. Pap and prostate tests do not need to be scheduled around the vaccine. (Click here to view the breast cancer screening flyer for patients.)
Special program helps practices save money
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If you're looking to improve business performance and save money, don't forget to check out The Physician Alliance's Affiliate Partners program!

A variety of businesses offer cost-effective, innovative solutions to help reduce business overhead costs and optimize business performance.

Current partners include:

Cyber Liability Insurance - Huntington Insurance
Legal Services - Rickard & Associates, P.C.
Medical Answering Service - Ambs Call Center
Medical Debt Collection - Transworld Systems, Inc.
Medical Malpractice Insurance - Coverys
Mortgage & Banking Services - Huntington Bank
Office Supplies & Solutions - Office Depot
Payroll/HR Services - DynamicHR
Practice Marketing Services - 4MJ Social
Telephone Solutions and Services - Edge Solutions
Vaccine Purchasing Program - Atlantic Health Partners

For more information on the Affiliate Partners, plus special offers and pricing for TPA members, visit the Affiliate Partners section of TPA's website.
Get tips, updates on improving population health and quality
Interested in learning what's new in the population health world? Need some tips on improving quality metrics? Curious about payer programs, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Physician Group Incentive Program?

Then don't miss The Physician Alliance's monthly Population Health & Quality webinars on the second Tuesday of the month (excluding July and December).

These informative care management webinars off opportunities to better understand: 
  • quality metrics related to chronic conditions
  • updates related to BCBSM quality programs and/or initiatives
  • performance reporting and performance improvement

Upcoming dates include:
Tuesday, May 11; 12-1pm
Tuesday, June 8; 12-1pm

Target audience: Primary care practices and interested specialty care practices
Benefits of an employee call-off service
Providing a clear procedure for employees to call-in when unable to work can save a lot of time and confusion for practice managers. A call-off service lets employees call a toll-free number, speak to a person to share clear details about their absence and how long they’ll be out. The information is then relayed to supervisors to make arrangements for their absence. Keep reading for benefits of an employee call-off service.

Saves time investigating the absence.
Managers hate wondering where missing employees are. The matter can be solved easily with an email from the call-off service stating “X employee called in sick tomorrow.”

Gives managers more time to plan.
Learning an employee will be out sick as early as possible can provide more time to call in extra help or adjust daily workflow especially if the employee estimates that they could be out for several days.

Maintains accurate paperwork.
Data on employee absences collected from a call-off service is able to stay together. This can alert a manager about possible behavioral trends, chronic problems or even how employees are doing on their sick leave hours. This also can provide details to auditors, compliance officers or oversight organizations that everyone’s hours and benefits are being properly and clearly administered and documented.

Prevents lost messages. 
A call-off service gathers consistent data whenever anyone calls. This information includes a quick summary of the health situation, how long an employee may be out, and their contact information. There won’t be any medical diagnoses given or requested, however, HR managers will have a full picture of the situation.

Offers protection to employees.
Rather than hoping “someone” gets the message in time, the employee notifying the call-off service will be assured that their message reaches the right person. They’ll also receive a confirmation number should a manager have questions or forgets that the employee called in sick.

Reduces potential abuses.
Having someone available around the clock to handle calls about illness makes it significantly harder for an employee to claim “I tried to call and couldn’t get through,” or “I left a message with someone but don’t remember who.” It also can eliminate people trying to use more than their legal number of hours if these kinds of abuses are taking place.

Read the full article here.

Source: Ambs Call Center is part of TPA's Affiliate Partners program, offering HIPAA compliant answering services, free web on-call app, secure text messaging, discounts to TPA members and more.
The latest healthcare news
Ways you can save
Featured Affiliate Partner: OFFICE SUPPLIES & SOLUTIONS - Office Depot provides TPA members with special deals that extend to almost every item, access to Office Depot’s technology services and local business pros, and more. Save with 20-55% off office supplies, 20-55% off retail on cleaning items, discounts on ink, toner, technology and more! 

Learn more about this partner.