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P3Care Investigates HHS Report for Providers Relief Fund Concerns

We understand that this time is difficult and hospitals, healthcare professionals, medical billing services, insurance companies, clearinghouses are working on top of their abilities.  Of course, no one is undermining the efforts of the healthcare industry. However, the pandemic is not an excuse to not keep clean records of healthcare attributes.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has cleared the sense of the notion that the disparity in data transmission or data incompleteness is not negotiable.

Inconsistency in Data Requirements Leave Physicians Waiting for Outcomes

To follow through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund money, physicians must abide by all the terms and conditions.

Important clauses for this relief fund are:

  • The fund is only to be used to avoid or respond to coronavirus affects.
  • The fund is only used as compensation to the lost revenue or the endured healthcare cost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physicians were quite unsure about how to act to these facts. Of course, medical billing outsourcing companies can’t proceed without their clients’ consent. Therefore, HHS took it upon itself to explain all the complications that restrict healthcare professionals to benefit from this program.

HHS Explains the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Requirements

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A few weeks back, HHS issued a draft as in FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that answered all the physicians’ concerns. Moreover, medical billing services get a chance to look into attributes that were most wanted, especially the documentation of items that home care providers need to record in their records. For Instance,

  • Medical supplies to offer healthcare service for possible or actual COVID-19 positive patients
  • Medical equipment to offer healthcare service for possible or actual COVID-19 positive patients
  • The training/education of workforce offering services for COVID-19
  • Getting access to training, resources, equipment, recruitment, etc. to streamline the workflow

Although the expenses should be with respect to the COVID-19 treatment or response, HHS stated that it is highly unlikely that the COVID-19 expense goes back to the date before January 1, 2020.

What are the Lost Revenues that are Attributable to COVID-19?

healthcare professionals, medical billing services, healthcare industry, COVID-19 pandemic, medical billing outsourcing, medical billing companies, medical billing outsourcing companies

HHS also explains this phrase. Lost revenue will subject to any financial loss that is incurred due to coronavirus.  It also includes cases where medical billing companies couldn’t generate revenue for healthcare professionals due to fewer patients visits, canceled or delayed elective medical treatments and procedures, or surging uncompensated loss.

According to HHS, the dedicated fund can be used to cover that cost too that could be recovered otherwise, as long as it is subjected to coronavirus prevention, response, or planning. It implies that that the cost doesn’t have to be specific to coronavirus positive or possible patients, but it just has to be lost due to the pandemic.

These funds can also be used to maintain the quality of healthcare services and their timely delivery to the patients.  For instance, to pay for the payrolls, insurance plans, or EHR (Electronic Healthcare Records) fee.

This fund can be a ray of hope during the financial crisis period. HHS tried their best to give relief to patients. Now, it is up to medical billing services to strategize and compensate for the losses.

HIPAA , HIPAA security analysis, HIPAA security, HIPAA Requirements, HIPAA medical billing, HIPAA medical billing company, Health IT, COVID-19 , Coronavirus, Healthcare IT companies, Healthcare Under HIPAA, Healthcare providers Healthcare solutions, HER, EHR

4 Health IT Recommendations for Remote Healthcare Under HIPAA

Working from home is a new reality. The novel coronavirus has left us at home while it continues to affect the human race. It doesn’t differentiate between humans based on their race, wealth, color, sex, or religion; moreover, it treats the young and grownups alike. That is how ruthless it is.

In such overwhelming times, when healthcare workers face the challenge of a growing number of COVID-19 patients on one side, they are required to follow the rules of HIPAA remote care on the other. They are under obligation to meet HIPAA security and privacy requirements no matter how big or small their practice is. In fact, it is not something new to them in the best interest of Protected Health Information (PHI).

Therefore, we will know in today’s article that how physician practices, with the help of health IT, can address the HIPAA security risk analysis issue head-on, especially when it comes to remote care.

Under HIPAA, it is obligatory for hospitals and practices in the US to protect sensitive patient data from violators or from going public. The new norm of diagnosis and treatment coupled with the support of health IT ensure remote healthcare to fall in line with the rules of HIPAA.

Telemedicine moves forward with a bubble of protection to safeguard patient information. Let’s see some recommendations for technologists supervising remote care communication:

  1. Set Clear Instructions for Remote Use of Healthcare Devices

One thing that we should remember is that healthcare providers are not IT experts. While they know the importance to protect the confidentiality of patient data, they don’t always know how to achieve that stage. Besides, they are too busy with their patients to worry about the laws that govern remote healthcare access.

Here comes the role of the technologists of practices who have the responsibility to provide clear instructions on how to use devices or software securely.

When developing the guidelines, come up with step-by-step execution of the process that simply describes what to do. Too many options or vague advice lead to confusion instead of clarity. HIPAA security risk analysis of remote healthcare ensembles with the list of recommended tools and how providers may use them to provide care.

  1. Know HIPAA Requirements Before Suggesting Tools

For a technologist, to know the requirements of HIPAA are one of the essentials they cannot ignore. Since many healthcare practices now turn to new teleworking technologies facilitating video chats, data share, and follow-ups, it comes on you to explain to them which tools are allowed under the Health and Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Providers can only choose a selected bunch of tools that adhere to the HIPAA privacy and security guidelines to communicate. They are not at liberty to use just any tool that they find on the internet and download it for free. Hence, it is of utmost importance that the health IT experts handling your practice’s remote communication are aware of the provisions of HIPAA. Moreover, they must show the will to enter into an official contract as a business associate.

Zoom is an example of a tool that is allowed for healthcare professionals to see their patients. However, there is a specific version that is permissible under HIPAA. Licensed Specialized Zoom for Healthcare solution is the version that fulfills the requirements of HIPAA. Hence, business associates can carry out PHI transmission through Zoom’s specified version.

Also, the above version integrates with electronic health record (EHR) systems seamlessly.

  1. Supply Compliance-friendly Devices for Safety & Management

 When remote care is at play, the idea is to create a safe passage for patient-provider interaction. The healthcare IT teams have to supply healthcare workers with compliance-friendly correspondence devices because that is far less burdensome than manifesting security in each of the employee-owned devices. So even when they go home, they may use only a secure line of communication.

Preconfigured gadgets guarantee adherence to policies that govern PHI safety.

Additionally, for IT teams it is much easier to manage a system that they are familiar with; it is the same mobile device management system they work on at the office.

  1. Use of VPNs to Secure Online Connectivity

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are software applications that offer encryption of any data that travels through them. Health IT teams have a job to do; they must remember to equip devices in the use of practitioners with enough security controls to counter unauthorized access.

Two networks need to be secured: providers’ home network and the Internet between the home and the practice.

Management of device configuration solves most of the problems, but it still leaves room for intruders to jump whenever they want.

Hence, suggested is the use of VPNs to ensure safe online connectivity. Any communication that happens between the office and home is secure. A VPN develops a secure encrypted tunnel across the communication channel from the practitioner’s device to the receiver’s end.

It further provides content filtering, firewall safety, and end-to-end encryption to home users just as it would for workers within a hospital or clinic.

With the above four recommendations, we conclude this article in the hope that it is sufficient information regarding telemedicine’s safety standards for health IT. If you want to hire services of professionals who can offer HIPAA security risk analysis to remote medical practices, please get in touch with P3 Healthcare Solutions. We are also a HIPAA medical billing company that takes extreme caution when it comes to protected health information.

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P3 Investigates: Trump Administration Plans to Reopen Nursing Homes

P3, as a medical billing service and a MIPS Qualified Registry, keeps in touch with CMS news as it happens. CMS, yet again, informs the public of the plans, the government has for nursing homes to reopen safely with the pandemic still around. While state and local officials follow it to ensure safe beginnings for nursing homes across the country, they are a part of President Trump’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.

Why were the restrictions put in the first place? The government had to take stern action against nursing homes and put them under quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including severe infection prevention, ample testing, and investigation.

This plan that the government has come up with will be a guide through troubling times as life gets back to normal for nursing homes.

When stats suggest that 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths are of citizens 65 and above, the more careful we are the better. We owe it to the seniors of this country more than we owe it to anyone else.

By acting upon this guide, nursing homes will be able to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure and prevent its spread within facilities.

In light of these issued recommendations, states should observe if nursing homes are taking the appropriate and necessary steps to ensure resident safety; moreover, they should know the right time when to reopen doors to the public.

In finality, the information you find here should support states and nursing homes bring families together, reunite them with their loved ones in a gradual manner.

Administrator Seema Verma has led from the front during the crisis; this time, she said and I am paraphrasing it; the coronavirus has had a shocking impact on our nursing homes, and as we reopen the country, we want to be sure that we are doing everything in our power to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

She continued by saying that their constant focus is on the protection and quality of life of the nursing home residents. While we reach the stage when we finally reopen, she said, we want to make sure that the communities have a set strategy moving forward.

Further, CMS recommends additional criteria for the safety of the nursing home residents since COVID-19 poses a direct threat to them as the country passes through the reopening phase. It is to complement the Trump Administration’s broader idea of the Reopening of America Again.

A nursing home, as part of the recommendation, must not advance through phases of reopening until all residents and staff have received their baseline test results.

CMS wants state survey agencies to keep an eye on nursing homes if they suffered from a serious COVID-19 outbreak before reopening.

As its final recommendation, CMS states that homes should remain in the highest state of restriction even if they see relaxation in the community around them, to ensure the preservation of lives.

Moving on, nursing homes will start taking in visitors in phase three, which will only occur when health reports show considerably less COVID-19 cases. Visitors must go through screening and wear a face-covering during the visit.

The guidance was released a couple of days back on May 18, 2020, but we thought by revisiting the recommendations, we can make a difference. P3, as QPP MIPS 2020 reporting registry, has considered it an honor to go the distance for the health of US citizens; this, specifically, goes out to seniors to whom we are grateful.

State leaders in collaboration with local health departments and state survey agencies would implement the guidance to limit COVID-19 exposure in nursing homes. Relaxation of the intense measures in a nursing home should only occur after a careful review of the following factors:

  • Number of COVID-19 cases in the local community
  • Number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes
  • Available staff members
  • Baseline tests of all residents; weekly tests of all staff members; social distancing; face coverings
  • Presence of enough personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Nearby hospital’s capacity

State and local leaders have a responsibility to see to these factors now and then and adjust their strategies accordingly, depending on the intensity of coronavirus spread in their vicinity. CMS is committed to taking measures that ensure the safety and revival of nursing homes.

An Overview: New York State Battles COVID-19 Complacently

To call it a battle seems right.

Ever wondered what it’s like to have a non-human combatant in front of you. Well, it feels just like how the world feels at the moment. Emotionally, we are all in this together, the sooner we accept it, the better. Coronavirus is not a friend but an enemy to billions of people on this planet regardless of their color, race, or wealth

It is not even a living organism; it doesn’t have tanks or artillery to fight off humans but still manages to injure and attack us. However, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the New York State, is hopeful that they will come out of it stronger, healthier, and smarter than ever before.

Under the current circumstance, when New Yorkers are looking in the eye of COVID-19, to say that it brings the best out of them will not be wrong. Healthcare heroes are activated to full effect across the country, and New York has them too. They have maintained a steady caring environment for patients who are recovering, and the incoming surge of patients.

It reminds me of healthcare saying by Thomas Frist M.D., “Take care of the patient and everything else will follow”

Sounds about right?

Quality care could be a ray of hope and lesson the number of patients coming into the hospitals. At the time, it feels idealistic when it is not. The fact is that we must take this slow; one day at a time, ensure care equipment such as ventilators is all there for them.

You never know, the results could just surprise us, in a good way. That’s what care can do and what the patient so rightly deserves.

Healthcare providers, hospitals, population health experts, doctors, nurses, volunteers, and staff are all playing their part diligently; we can’t ask for more. Sadly, the number of deaths keeps on climbing up for New York. Governor Cuomo admitted that the rate of deaths will increase in the upcoming days. However, the good thing is that the number of people coming to hospitals will decrease.

We will see a rise in the number of deaths each day in New York. Why? According to Governor Cuomo, the people that are already in hospitals, on ventilators for weeks now; they have less chance of surviving.

Coronavirus has so far consumed the lives of many of our fellow humans. I have to say I didn’t expect something like this to hit the world in 2020. Although the world remains calm, courtesy to the leaders who are doing their jobs well. Otherwise, with a virus like this one shaping up into a pandemic, chaos was inevitable.

Here, P3Care would like to appreciate Governor Cuomo for this war against an unseen enemy. Yesterday, he said and I am paraphrasing it, why do the poorest among us have to suffer the most? Whether it is hurricane Katrina or some other disaster, poor people suffer the most. The person at the rooftop wasn’t a rich white man. We have to find out the reason for that. We really do.

Also, he was of the view, and I am paraphrasing that this virus is our true enemy; it attacked the weakest and the vulnerable. It is our duty as a society to protect our weak and vulnerable.

A Brief History of the Virus in New York State and the United States

According to a recent article in the New York Times, several studies prove that this virus came to the US through Europe and not an Asian country. Research puts the time of this virus to mid-February when it began to circulate in the state of New York.

In New York alone, there are 159,937 confirmed cases so far; 13,000 have recovered; and a staggering number of 7,067 deaths. God bless the departed souls.

There are 469,121 confirmed cases; 26,448 who have recovered; and 16,676 deaths across the United States so far.

Medical Billing Services, Medical Billing Companies, Healthcare industry, Medical Billing Company, Medicare and Medicaid Services, QPPMIPS

Guide to the Latest Medical Billing Codes for COVID-19 Test

The constant threat of coronavirus has led the panel of AMA – The American Medical Association to introduce CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes for medical billing services.

As the number of infected cases in the USA increased, the need for a separate code for COVID-19 testing emerged. The president of AMA, Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, announced a unique code to report for laboratory testing of the coronavirus. This information was released on March 13, 2020, in order to translate the advantages of tracking, allocating, and optimizing resources.

What’s New for Medical Billing Services Regarding Corona Test Coding?

The coronavirus code belongs to a new category I of CPT codes.  The details are as follows.

  1. 87635 infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA)
  2. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), for the examination technique

The codes are now available to use to report on behalf of physicians by the medical billing companies. This code also has short and medium descriptors, which can be accessed on the official AMA website – https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/cpt/cpt-releases-new-coronavirus-covid-19-code-description-testing

Coronavirus around the Globe

The situation of the novel coronavirus is serious. President Trump has declared a national emergency in the USA, and the only way to stay safe is by maintaining the social distance.

The Healthcare industry, in almost every country, is under pressure to combat the seriousness of coronavirus pandemic. The number one step for managing this catastrophe is by dealing with hundreds and even thousands of diagnostics procedures, and this code will help deal with the billing matters.

Rick A. Bright, Ph.D., director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at HHS stressed the need of increasing the capacity of testing kits to identify and separate infected individuals as early as possible.

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There have been delays reported in terms of accessing the diagnostic procedures of COVID-19. The delays and shortage in facilities may affect the frontline fighters (physicians), and ultimately potential patients.

According to AMA, the newly released code is a progressive step towards optimal coronavirus diagnostic services. All along, the physician or medical billing company is required to use the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes to document public encounters with the health payment programs as Medicare.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also stated to create two new HCPCS codes to support the coronavirus diagnostic procedure.

The first code released in February (U0001) is for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests performed specifically for CDC testing laboratories.

The second billing code (U0002) released this month will extend medical billing services for coronavirus lab tests, allowing to bill for non-CDC laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV, (novel coronavirus or COVID-19).

QPP MIPS requests everyone to stay strong and be mindful of others around you. Spend this difficult time to connect with yourself and be creative while staying home.  You never know who carries the virus therefore, use hand sanitizers, clean your space, wear gloves, and face mask before going out and keep a safe distance from everyone.

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P3 Clears Five Misconceptions About Coronavirus

P3Care counters misinformation around topics of medical billing or MIPS 2020 reporting about the much-talked-about coronavirus. Yes, the Wuhan-born virus is breaking news on every news channel in the world.

A session held on Friday in New York City by the Center for Disaster Medicine at New York Medical College (NYMC) about the virus recorded someone from the audience asking, “Is it safe to eat Chinese food?”. That is what news without investigation can do to you. There is much wrong information floating around that it has become hard to differentiate between facts and fiction.

There are 5 common misconceptions about the virus with counterarguments for the greater good of the people.

And, yes, eating Chinese is safe. It is ‘not’ a safety hazard by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Misconception 1: Coronavirus is more dangerous than any other virus and is spreading fast

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Wrong. The measles virus is much more dangerous than coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The only reason it has not spread quickly is that most people are already vaccinated for measles. Voila! It doesn’t make it to the news or social media.

The experts say that this virus can affect 2 to 3 people around. However, this data has a lot of uncertainty because it has not gone through scientific-peer assessment yet.

Misconception 2 – It can kill you

In a session, held by NYMC, Mary Foote, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Coordinator for Communicable Disease Preparedness at the NYC Department of Health said that it is believed that everyone who gets affected by the new virus eventually dies. But people are at greater risk from heart disease, cancer, old age, and any other life-threatening disease than by this virus.

People are at greater risk of influenza and chances of them ending up in hospitals from influenza are higher. Stating a fact, Flu kills tens of thousands of people every year in the US and 291,000 to 646,000 people in the world (according to a study published in The Lancet). CDC stresses on getting flu shots on their website and social channels for public protection as we speak. Hence, people ought to be more concerned about protecting themselves from the flu rather than the coronavirus.

Misconception 3 – It was manufactured in a laboratory and is being used as a biological weapon

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The news that was spread earlier by a large number of Russian domestic channels suggested the involvement of the United States behind this outbreak. The misinformation further spread like fire saying the US has created this bioweapon against China and that US pharmacists were making billions from this.

Similar conspiracy theories are creeping up in China and, oh surprise, surprise, some of them are coming from within the U.S. All of these are just conspiracy theories and nothing more. No, there is no evidence that this was a human-designed strain of the virus created to destroy countries or dismantle governments.

Misconception 4 – A cure is available

A vaccine is not developed in the blink of an eye. There hasn’t been a vaccine until now because it is a new virus and producing a vaccine to counter will take some time. Public and private organizations are cooperating to assist scientists in finding a remedy for this virus as quickly as they can.

Misconception 5 – Every person with fever and coughing is infected with coronavirus

This is misinformation #5 on this list. Since the public is unaware of reality, they think every person with the common flu is infected with the coronavirus. CDC has stressed the importance of flu vaccination several times. Medicare offers to reimburse providers if they claim for giving flu shots to their patients. The same facility is for the beneficiaries to get their flu shots on time in which they don’t have to pay any out-of-pocket costs. Health plans are in full support of this cause.

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Jackie Chan: 1 Million Yuan for Whoever Finds the Cure

Famous movie star Jackie Chan who needs no introduction has promised an amount of 1 million yuan for developing a vaccine for coronavirus. Since the virus is still very much around, especially around the city of Wuhan, it is a call to researchers, inventors, scientists, pharmacists, chemists, and biologists to come up with a remedy. A miracle vaccine!

Somehow finding its way to the Chinese population, the virus has taken hundreds of lives in a matter of days. Unable to find a solution until now, it has spread like wildfire in over 25 countries. According to the veteran actor, he feels for his fellow men and women and anyone who has succumbed to the deadly coronavirus.

No less than a million yuan is quite an incentive for the thinking brains out there to work their magic and invent an antidote. It is not about the money for Jackie Chan or the people he is calling on for a solution.

We are confident that it will happen anytime soon because that is what we want. Not only does human suffering is painful to see but it puts the responsibility on us to unite on this very cause. The cause is to find relief against coronavirus once and for all.

Jackie Chan’s stance

“Science and technology are key to overcoming the virus, and I believe many people have the same thought like me and hope that an antidote can be developed as soon as possible”, the actor declared.

He continued, “I have a ‘naive’ idea now. No matter which individual or organization develops the antidote, I want to thank them with 1 million yuan”.

He stressed the fact that he doesn’t want people to suffer from the virus when they should be enjoying life. And it is not about the money but the people.

Back at home during the medical masks and protective gear emergency, the actor was among the people who donated generously. It goes to show this guy is exactly how he looks like; a person with a heart of gold.

Kicks and nunchakus for coronavirus

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World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a global health emergency. Whether coronavirus likes it or not, it has to face the likes of Jackie Chan and the world of martial arts knows that if he sets his mind to something, he is unstoppable. Get ready to face round-house kicks because the attack mode is on which will not stop until it is defeated.

Background

The origin of this virus is still unknown; however, the Chinese city of Wuhan, located in the province of Hubei is under attack since December 2019. The area has been discussed so many times in the past that most of us have memorized it by now. However, it is of utmost concern to come up with a remedy.

All the efforts are being done to create a vaccine that neutralizes it in the system of an infected person. Most probably, the ideas will form into a permanent solution any day now.

Peace to the world

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As of now, 780 people have died of this virus in China and a large number of people (over 37,000) are infected from it both in and out of the country. God bless the people as we hope to God to shower His peace and blessings from eternal heavens and wipe this menace of the face of the earth.

Conclusion

P3Care medical billing service supports any research efforts being done around the world against coronavirus. We may fail once; we may fail twice, but if we continue to look for a vaccine, ultimately, we will have one. The healthcare industry in the US is as concerned as anyone else. US government organizations such as the CDC have reassured the Chinese government that they are always ready to help.