Covid-19's Effect on Post-Acute Practices
Post-Acute medical practices have been hit just as hard as retailers and restaurants during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Lack of facility access led to lower patient volume and productivity and forced many practices to reducing providers, cut work hours and even reduce pay.
Some practices have been able to pivot and capitalize on using telemedicine to provide care remotely to buildings. Practices have also grown by crossing state lines to mitigate some of their losses
While some practices have been successful deploying telemedicine, many have done so without a true strategy behind it. In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations were relaxed allowing providers the opportunities to use free tools currently available without the need to establish a HIPAA compliant connection. Such freeware options, like Facetime, will work during the emergency period, but once the emergency period is lifted, the relaxation in the HIPAA requirements is very likely to revert to established regulations. As the pandemic continues, telemedicine has demonstrated that it is a viable clinical and business strategy and strong consideration should be given to a long-term solution.
Support of telemedicine by skilled nursing and long-term care facilities has been another barrier that practices have experienced when deploying telemedicine. Facilities can bill for their support of telemedicine visits using the Site Originating Fee code, Q3104. This code is billed by the facility for each encounter provided remotely by a telemedicine provider. While not all payors are reimbursing this code, most are, and the reimbursement is such that it can help defray the cost of the supporting staff member’s time. Post-Acute practices must be prepared with a long-term strategy that will lead them to success during the remainder of the pandemic, through regulatory and rule adjustments, and into the immediate post COVID period and beyond. Practices that have a clear strategy and a plan of action will continue to grow.
As specialists in supporting the business needs of the SNFist™ Saisystems Health can help you develop that strategy.
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