Home » News » Recent Articles:

News 4/22/20

April 22, 2020 News 1 Comment

Top News

image

CMS, ONC, and the HHS Office of the Inspector General announce they will, to varying degrees, delay enforcing compliance with final interoperability rules so that healthcare stakeholders can focus on COVID-19-related operations.

Most relevant to this audience may be ONC’s new timeframes for software developers.


HIStalk Practice Musings

I haven’t had any personal experience with COVID-19, aside from the economic impact on various family members. I have, however, seen its indirect effects – both positive and negative on local, non-COVID patients: A friend has been at her wits’ end trying to find care for her 85 year-old father in-law as he recovers from several strokes. She’s told me his regular doctors have refused to see him because they are apparently no longer seeing patients above the age of 65. She was so relieved to find a home health agency that offers in-person and virtual visits to fill in his care gaps for the time being. On the flip side, my neighbor’s emergency gall bladder removal earlier this week probably went more smoothly than in non-Covid times of care. He didn’t wait long in the emergency room and his surgery, thankfully routine, happened not long after he was admitted. His wife was not thrilled that she couldn’t visit him, though. Given that the hospital he went to is in one of the top five counties for COVID cases, I hope to eventually ask him about any noticeable changes to its operating procedures/standards of care.

image image

Speaking of counties, I’ve found the daily COVID-19 statistics released by my state’s department of public health invaluable in helping me understand how the virus is impacting my community. I’ve been visiting its COVID-19 landing page daily for about a month now, and it’s been interesting to see how reporting of the data has changed as cases and testing have increased. They now seem to be entering a leveling-off phase, which is encouraging, though I’m not enough of a data-whisperer to infer that we’ve definitely flattened the curve. Thankfully, data is non-partisan.


Webinars

April 28 (Tuesday) 1 ET: “COVID-19: Managing an evolving patient population with health information systems.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Reeti Chauhan, senior product manager, IMO. IMO recently released new novel coronavirus descriptors to help clinicians accurately record diagnoses and also created free IMO Precision COVID-19 Sets to help identify and analyze patients with potential or documented infection. The presenters will discuss these new tools and describe how to use them optimally.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers CEO James Hunt, Jr. says recent federal grants will keep the state’s 52 centers going for another six weeks, and that billions of dollars will be needed to keep programs stable over the next three to six months. Thirty-two centers are preparing to launch widespread COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, despite a shortage of PPE.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Amwell announces GA of white-label telemedicine capabilities for physician practices.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics will offer member organizations access to Updox’s telemedicine software and services.


Government and Politics

image

The State of Georgia expands a COVID-19 screening app developed by August University Health System to residents statewide. Those who qualify can make testing appointments with the department of public health through the app. Patients who test positive will then be asked to self-report symptoms and whereabouts through a portal developed by Google and MTX Group. Officials say data from the portal will be essential to boots-on-the-ground contact tracing efforts. 


Research and Innovation

image

An informal survey of 2,000 physicians conducted during a call-in Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Town Hall finds that:

  • Twenty-four percent have lost between 75% and 100% of their revenue since the pandemic began.
  • Thirty-six percent have lost between 50% and 75% of their revenue.
  • Twenty-three percent have lost between 25% and 50% of their revenue.
  • Forty-one percent need more data on testing and testing options.
  • Nearly 75% began using telemedicine for the first time as of March 1.

Other

image

Value-based care practice management company Primary PartnerCare procures 5,000 N95 masks for the 100 independent physicians within its New York-based network. Sixty percent of its practices are still operating. A PCP study conducted in mid-April found that just under 50% of surveyed practices have enough patient volume and cash on hand to stay open through mid-May.

image

In Texas, Bent Tree Family Physicians President and CEO Guy Culpepper, MD expresses his frustration with the state of independent practice during COVID-19, the effects of which have forced him to furlough his entire staff and apply for a small business loan:

We believed that we would be receiving a loan from the government CARES program, so we kept working as hard as ever, actually much harder. Our phone calls overflowed with non-billable patient questions and problems. And we returned calls 24 hours a day. We preventing hundreds of people from going to the ER. We flattened the curve.

We did everything we thought we were supposed to do. We applied for a loan properly and on time at our long time bank, BB&T. But the $350 Billion dollars of small business loans went too quickly to other businesses, like Ruths Chris and Potbelly’s. We didn’t get a loan.

I don’t know why America’s essential workers, like BTFP, were not treated as essential loan recipients. I guess I trusted the system too much.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 4/20/20

April 20, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

Value-based practice management company Aledade raises $64 million in a Series C round of funding led by OMERS Growth Equity. Launched in 2014 by former ONC leader Farzad Mostashari, MD (whom, in my opinion, is a voice of sound public health reasoning right now, along with former FDA head Scott Gottlieb, MD), the company’s clients now include 550 independent practices in nearly 30 states. Aledade will use the financing to help it expand in California. The California Medical Association also participated in the round.

image

The company made news several days ago for supplying 500 practices enrolled in its ACO programs with PPE including 282,000 surgical masks, 119,000 KN95 respirators, 348,000 medical gloves, 101,000 disposable gowns, 29,000 face shields, and 4,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.


Webinars

April 28 (Tuesday) 1 ET: “COVID-19: Managing an evolving patient population with health information systems.”Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Reeti Chauhan, senior product manager, IMO. IMO recently released new novel coronavirus descriptors to help clinicians accurately record diagnoses and also created free IMO Precision COVID-19 Sets to help identify and analyze patients with potential or documented infection. The presenters will discuss these new tools and describe how to use them optimally.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


People

image

Debra Stall (Pennington Group) joins Therapy Brands as head of RCM and clearinghouse.

image image

Telemedicine company Wheel names Chris Norris (Darby Smart) CTO and Chris Donus (Lyft) CFO.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Marshfield Clinic (WI) implements Ikonopedia’s cloud-based breast reporting software across its eight imaging centers and three mobile mammography units.

image

MD Revolution integrates Electronic Caregiver’s Pro Health remote patient monitoring software with its RevUp digital care management technology.

image

National clinic chain Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy will implement telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and outcomes tracking software from PhysiTrack through a custom-built app dubbed Ivy Rehab Connect.


Government and Politics

image

Just three days after opening the application window, the FCC awards over $3 million to six healthcare organizations including Hudson River HealthCare in New York and Neighborhood Health Care in Cleveland. Both organizations will use the financing to purchase telemedicine, connected devices, and remote patient monitoring for low-income patients with chronic conditions.

In Texas, the Austin Public Health department launches an online portal enabling residents to complete online COVID-19 testing assessments, data from which will help health officials better gauge testing demand and follow up with high-risk patients. The portal will also offer testing referrals, follow-up results, and secure messaging. The department hopes to be able to test up to 2,000 people per week at its drive-thru sites.


Other

image

This article looks at the unexpectedly quick deployment of telemedicine services across Hudson Headwaters’ 19 community clinics in upstate New York. What had been still in the planning stages was quickly implemented through Zoom in just a few weeks, according to CMIO Kevin Gallagher, MD who joined the organization on March 2. Since launching the service, it has conducted 2,379 audio visits and 2,081 video visits.

image

Codementor develops Code Against COVID-19, a website that matches software developers with COVID-19 related software projects.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 4/15/20

April 15, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

An MGMA survey of 724 practices conducted earlier this month finds that patient volumes have declined an average of 66%, leading to a 55% decline in reimbursements. Nearly a quarter have had to permanently lay staff off, while 44% percent have had to furlough workers. Of those that haven’t had to make any employment cuts, most have said they’ll consider doing so within the next 30 days.


Webinars

April 28 (Tuesday) 1 ET: “COVID-19: Managing an evolving patient population with health information systems.”Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Reeti Chauhan, senior product manager, IMO. IMO recently released new novel coronavirus descriptors to help clinicians accurately record diagnoses and also created free IMO Precision COVID-19 Sets to help identify and analyze patients with potential or documented infection. The presenters will discuss these new tools and describe how to use them optimally. 

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Announcements and Implementations

image

MerlinWave adds AxiaMed’s patient payment technology to its MWTherapy software for physical therapy practices.

image

Titan Health Management Solutions will outsource some of its RCM services to MTBC’s new accounts receivables and back-office management service.

image

Wildflower Health announces GA of free virtual visit and remote patient monitoring tools for obstetrics practices during the pandemic.

image

Mental Health Center of Denver implements CareSignal’s COVID-19 Companion text messaging app.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Several clinics and medical groups in Oregon are banding together to ask for state and federal financial assistance as they struggle to keep their doors open. True to MGMA’s aforementioned stats, their patient volumes have dropped 68% and have forced them to contemplate closing within the next 60 to 90 days if operations don’t return to some semblance of normal. All have taken steps to reduce expenses, including reducing pay, cutting hours and furloughing staff. Funding received from the CARES Act won’t stretch beyond a day or two, with most receiving the equivalent of less than a day’s revenue. 


Other

image

Steve Short, DO documents his time volunteering at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The pulmonary critical dare specialist had originally intended to spend one week away from his job at Inspire ENT & Pulmonology in Manhattan, KS, but was convinced by hospital administrators to extend his stay for another four to six weeks. “Every floor is basically an intensive care unit,” he says. “It is just unbelievable how many sick people there are, and 100 ventilators that are going, and there’s nobody getting off them, everyone is dying, and it’s so sad.”

The Maryland State Medical Society will offer independent member practices with five or fewer physicians free access for a year to DrFirst’s telemedicine software.


Sponsor Updates

  • Use of the EClinicalWorks Healow telemedicine app exceeds 1.5 million daily minutes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 4/13/20

April 13, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

The FCC begins accepting applications for its $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which will help eligible providers purchase infrastructure, services, and devices needed to offer telemedicine during the pandemic.


HIStalk Practice Musings

image

image

I came across this tweet and thought I would share, should anyone be looking for a new physician author to read. The book, Weiner’s second, came out last week.

image

Dr. Jayne’s mention last week of the British TV series “Poldark” finally get me to jump (rather belatedly) on the bandwagon. I had the opportunity to watch several episodes of the first season over the holiday weekend and I’m officially hooked. I’m looking forward to reading the series of books on which the 2015-2019 Masterpiece production was based. 


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

I’m going on record as saying 2020 will be known as the year that telemedicine went mainstream. Thus, I’m getting rid of the “Telemedicine” section and organizing virtual care-related news items according to HIStalk Practice’s more traditional categories.


Webinars

April 15 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Scaling front-line COVID-19 response: virtual education, screening, triage, and patient navigation.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Lawrence “Rusty” Hofman, MD, medical director of digital health, Stanford Health Care; Kristi Ebong, MPH, MBA, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. The presenters will describe how chatbots can be quickly deployed to streamline individual navigation to the appropriate resources, administer automated virtual health checks for monitoring and managing specific populations, increase access to screening and triage for high-risk populations across multiple channels (web, voice, SMS, and analog phone), and reach individuals in multiple languages.

April 28 (Tuesday) 1 ET: “COVID-19: Managing an evolving patient population with health information systems.”Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Reeti Chauhan, senior product manager, IMO. IMO recently released new novel coronavirus descriptors to help clinicians accurately record diagnoses and also created free IMO Precision COVID-19 Sets to help identify and analyze patients with potential or documented infection. The presenters will discuss these new tools and describe how to use them optimally. 

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Just a little over a year after breaking away from Atrium Health-owned Mecklenburg Medical Group in North Carolina to form their own independent practice, leaders at Tryon Medical Partners lay off 75 employees in response to a pandemic-induced decline in patient visits.

image

Healthcare technology and management company Altais acquires Brown & Toland Physicians, a network of 2,700 independent physicians in the San Francisco Bay area. B&TP will join the clinical services subsidiary of Altais, and implement its practice management software.


People

image image image

Behavioral healthcare technology company AptiHealth names Dan Pickett (Hudson River Capital Holdings) president and CEO, and Kori-Ann Taylor (32 Mile Media) CMO; and promotes co-founder Alex Marsal to chief clinical and science officer.


Announcements and Implementations

MTI Physical Therapy in Seattle implements virtual visit capabilities from MedBridge.


Government and Politics

This Health Affairs article offers a list of financial resources for struggling community health centers.

Oklahoma’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse will equip 81 sites across the state with telemedicine-enabled tablets that patients can use to access mental health services on site or from home.


Other

image

In Kentucky, several of Kroger’s Little Clinic locations will begin offering free drive-thru testing for COVID-19. The grocery chain will cover the costs of testing, and has promised a 48-hour turnaround time through lab partner Gravity Diagnostics. Customers can make an appointment for testing through a new online portal, which also offers chatbot-based virus screening. Results will be added to the clinic’s EHR, which I believe is Epic.

image

Google adds telemedicine services and pricing to search and map results associated with brick-and-mortar physician listings.

image

Sports Illustrated profiles several NFL team physicians who’ve transitioned from examining draft picks to caring for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. The NFL Physicians Society suspended all football-related medical visits last month.

The AMA puts together a list of resources, including telemedicine opportunities, for physicians interested in volunteering their services for COVID-19 care.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 4/8/20

April 8, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

SAMHSA reports its national Disaster Distress Helpline saw a nearly 900% year-over-year increase in calls last month, prompting mental health experts at the federal level to issue warnings of a coming mental health crisis.

Investors have already taken note, funding online therapy and counseling startups like SonderMind and SilverCloud Health with a combined $43 million in just the last several days.

Health officials fear that the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money earmarked in the CARES Act for the expansion of mental health services at the federal, state, and local levels may not be enough to provide services for those who’ll need them.

Across the pond, the British government is offering grants to tech companies that can quickly develop digital mental health tools to help citizens who are struggling with the government’s mandated 12 weeks of isolation. 


Webinars

April 15 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Scaling front-line COVID-19 response: virtual education, screening, triage, and patient navigation.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Lawrence “Rusty” Hofman, MD, medical director of digital health, Stanford Health Care; Kristi Ebong, MPH, MBA, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. The presenters will describe how chatbots can be quickly deployed to streamline individual navigation to the appropriate resources, administer automated virtual health checks for monitoring and managing specific populations, increase access to screening and triage for high-risk populations across multiple channels (web, voice, SMS, and analog phone), and reach individuals in multiple languages.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

As headlines continue to highlight the business struggles smaller practices are facing in light of COVID-19, advocacy organization Practicing Physicians of American launches Health in My Community, an online resource that hopes to connect patients in need of care with physicians in their communities who now offer telemedicine. A related GoFundMe campaign has been established to help patients access care from those physicians.

image

Online substance abuse counseling company Lionrock raises $7 million. It has seen attendance in its free support groups, including one dedicated to COVID-19-related anxiety, triple over the last several weeks.

image

Just a month after announcing a $9 million Series A funding round, Los Angeles-based medical billing software vendor Anagram lays off 17 employees.


Telemedicine

image

Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians begins offering virtual visits using Updox technology.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Nonprofit MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley (TX) will implement Smart Care EHR software from Streamline Healthcare Solutions.

EHNAC offers healthcare business associates a Privacy and Security Toolkit that includes a set of HIPAA/HITECH policies, procedures, forms, best practices, compliance tools, and consulting assistance.


Government and Politics

HHS will distribute $1.3 billion to HRSA-funded health centers across the country to help them treat COVID-19 patients, and maintain or increase capacity and staffing levels.


Other

The AMA offers practices recommendations on offering non-essential care during the pandemic.

TruckPark adds access to telemedicine services from GenieMD to its app for long-haul truck drivers.

image

Optometrist Mark Veth takes to tickling the ivories via Facebook Live while his practice, Be Spectacled in Wauwatosa, WI, is closed during the pandemic. Veth, who has has been playing since the age of four, hopes to soon get back to playing for the nursing home residents he typically performs for on a weekly basis.


Sponsor Updates

  • Baxter Regional (AR) expands its use of EClinicalWorks technology to include virtual visit capabilities.
  • Healthwise launches a Coronavirus Resource Center.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

Founding Sponsor


  

Platinum Sponsors


  

  

Gold Sponsors


 

Subscribe to Updates




Search All HIStalk Sites


Loading

Recent Comments

  • Hugh Curmudgeon: Troll beater - I agree, the challenge of migrating to VBC is very hard, and in some cases, potentially not even wort...
  • Troll beater: That was a pretty tough comment Hugh. While I agree with some points made I think one thing is missing: the advisory ...
  • Hugh Curmudgeon: So...the EMR companies are going to put out press releases when they assemble their existing staff to do their jobs? I d...
  • Brian Foster: RE: "Doctor on Demand makes its service available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, and will waive their copays during t...
  • It's All Good: RE: Telemedicine company Medici raises $24 million in a Series B round. It will be very interesting to see how qui...