Almost all physician practices in the US are experiencing financial harm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll from MGMA found. Fifty-five percent said revenue is down since the start of the crisis, 60% said patient volume is down, 48% said they've temporarily furloughed staff, 22% have laid people off, and in total, 97% have felt a negative financial impact.
The federal government moved to relax more telemedicine regulations on a temporary basis during the coronavirus pandemic as the CMS gave healthcare workers more leeway to treat patients remotely. In Iowa, physicians hope the decision by Gov. Kim Reynolds to temporarily lift the state's restrictive telehealth rules will become permanent.
Health-technology startups worry that people with chronic diseases won't get the care they need during the pandemic due to the strain on providers, so they're turning to patient outreach and education. Clinicians at some startups meet with patients virtually as their typical in-person appointments are postponed, while others help patients understand their risk related to the coronavirus.
Neither hope nor pessimism will help leaders as much as declaring a vision and outlining a plan to get there, writes Michael Hyatt. He gives as an example the Apollo 13 lunar mission, in which astronauts and ground control were able to acknowledge the disaster occurring while creating a way forward.
Aaron Martin, chief digital officer at Seattle-based Providence health system, shared how the health system retooled its existing digital platform and altered many of its features to address the needs of patients amid the coronavirus outbreak. Providence, for instance, created a chatbot and integrated it into the DexCare platform that powers the system's virtual visits, preventing asymptomatic patients from going to emergency departments while advising patients with concerning symptoms to go to the clinic or to use DexCare's Express Care Virtual app for telehealth and remote consultations.
Health care providers using their personal phones for telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic can do so without divulging their phone numbers or email addresses, says eye surgeon Richard Davidson. He suggests setting up a new email address for FaceTime consultations, posting an auto-reply message that directs patients to the clinic's contact information, changing phone settings to add the new account information and attaching the new email address to FaceTime's caller ID function.
Malpractice insurers are making adjustments to cover physicians who use telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, but clinicians need to know and follow state requirements, including if they offer services to out-of-state patients, writes Erik Leander, the chief technology officer and chief information officer of Cunningham Group. Some physicians are changing their insurance coverage from full to part-time and many insurance companies are extending due dates.
The FBI is warning government and healthcare agencies that are trying to buy ventilators and personal protective equipment that cybercriminals are using business email compromise scams to steal the money meant for coronavirus equipment orders. The hackers pose as known vendors and ask for payment in advance for equipment that is never delivered.
Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is the premier association for professionals who lead medical practices. Since 1926, through data, people, insights, and advocacy, MGMA empowers medical group practices to innovate and create meaningful change in healthcare. With a membership of more than 55,000 medical practice administrators, executives, and leaders, MGMA represents more than 15,000 organizations of all sizes, types, structures and specialties that deliver almost half of the healthcare in the United States.