How to Tackle the Coronavirus Outbreak as a Physician Practice

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The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S has risen dramatically over the last two weeks. Since January 2020, nearly 1700 people have contracted the Covid-19 virus across the U.S; there have been at least 41 deaths due to coronavirus in the country. Only three states have reported zero cases; these are West Virginia, Idaho, and Alabama.

As the cases of coronavirus increase in the U.S., there is a real sense of fear on what lies ahead. While most coronavirus patients do recover from infection, the rapid spread of the disease has everyone concerned. The U.S federal and state governments have made sweeping efforts such as banning large public scale gatherings, shutting down tourist, sporting, and cultural events, imposing travel restrictions, and encouraging employers to allow people to work from home. 

With more than 125,000 cases of coronavirus and 4,290 deaths worldwide, the WHO has declared the outbreak to be a pandemic. Did you know that top international leaders have resorted to using ‘Namaste’ instead of the customary handshake during official engagements?

3 Things Physicians must do to Control Coronavirus Cases

President Trump has declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency. Now is a time for all Americans to come together to do what they can do to control the spread of coronavirus. 

Medical professionals, and in particular doctors and nursing staff at physician practices, can contribute by educating clients on how to avoid the spread of coronavirus by sharing information, encouraging remote consultations, taking precautions to avoid the spread of the virus at their clinics, and being prepared to treat coronavirus cases.

Share Information with Your Client Base

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its website with detailed information on steps individuals can take to protect themselves from the virus, along with answers to commonly asked questions about the disease. All physician practices must use these resources to share information on coronavirus prevention with their client base. The information can be provided via emailers, blogs, and videos played for patients waiting in the reception area of the doctor’s office.

Be Prepared to Handle Coronavirus Cases

There is also an entire CDC section on information relevant to healthcare professionals, which includes the following-

  • Clinical care guidance
  • Guidance on Infection Control
  • Collection and submission of specimens
  • Guidelines for interviewing and assessing persons with symptoms (PUIs for COVID-19)
  • Implementing home care for people with COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization.

Check these resources to ensure that you are up to date on the latest information available on combating the coronavirus spread. Should you receive a case of coronavirus case at your practice, use the following billing code: 2020 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code B34.2

Encourage Consultation via Telehealth

If you are authorized to offer Telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries, now is the time to encourage patients to use virtual checks. Anyone who shows flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches, and cough should be encouraged to first contact you via Telehealth; this will allow you to advise the patient on the precautions they need to take when they visit your office or the hospital for further diagnosis. All telehealth check-ins are billable under Medicare coinsurance.

Most EMR systems have a built-in telemedicine feature. However, to know whether you qualify for offering telemedicine services, please check the Medicare eligibility guidelines. As a first step you must activate the telemedicine feature in your EMR. You can download the telemedicine app on your office computer and /or your mobile device. Then, send messages to all patients who qualify for telemedicine service, informing them of the option to consult you via video.

For more information on coverage and payment related to COVID-19 Medicare, also refer to this CMS.GOV factsheet.

If you need guidance on implementing telemedicine, we can help.

Contact us today for a consult on implementing Medicare Telehealth 2020 at your practice.

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