Professional Coding Corner
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Staying on top of coding and other practice management-related topics is time-consuming. How does Physician Practice Resources do it? We subscribe to as many industry newsletters as possible, set up Google alerts for key terms, and stay active on social media to see what other industry subject matter experts are posting and discussing. You can do the same. In the meantime, check out these five newsworthy stories we’ve compiled this month. As we look ahead, what are your concerns, and how can Physician Practice Resources help? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly, stay safe out there.
Coding update: AMA announces new provisional CPT codes for COVID-19 boosters
To date, 35 codes have been created for reporting COVID-19 vaccines, most recently newly assigned provisional CPT codes for COVID-19 booster candidates from Pfizer and Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline. Not sure how to identify the right CPT code for the type and dose of vaccine you’re administering? The AMA offers a vaccine code finder resource.
Telemedicine: Address barriers to help patients stay healthy
Although many patients have returned to in-person visits, telehealth and virtual care remains popular for those with chronic conditions as well as older adults. One-third of U.S. adults over the age of 50 say they are extremely or very interested in using telehealth services for themselves or for a loved one, according to a recent AARP survey. Still, many barriers remain. This NCQA report outlines the root disparities in telehealth and provides recommendations on how to improve access for underserved communities. Here’s a good example of making it work: One New Jersey library provides iPads that are preloaded with apps and links to telemedicine sites for doctor appointments, multilingual health information, low literacy health resources, mental health support for adults and teens, COVID updates, and crisis hotlines in the state. It’s this type of community involvement that will help make telehealth more widely available to patients in need. Can your medical practice partner with community resources to make it happen?
Social determinants of health (SDOH): Report Z codes to help physicians get paid for addressing patients’ social needs
Rita K. Kuwahara, MD, MIH, a primary care physician and health policy fellow at Georgetown University, said in a recent article that Z codes can help providers address patients’ social needs more effectively. A recent AMA article echoes this sentiment, reminding physicians that with certain E/M codes, SDOH factors may raise the risk of complications, morbidity, or morality by limiting treatment options and diagnosis capability.
Practice management: Focus on efficiency, staffing shortages
While there are many ways to improve overall medical practice efficiency and reduce physician burnout, medical scribes may be one that’s often overlooked. This recent Medscape article outlines benefits and costs of working with onsite and virtual medical scribes. Another important practice management topic? Staffing shortages. This AMA guide provides tips to recruit and retain staff through flexible scheduling, greater efficiency, and more proficient office procedures. Also be sure to check out this AMA resource on how to implement a work from home program.
Clinical documentation: Sharing clinical notes with patients has advantages
Sharing clinical notes with patients was federally mandated under the new information-blocking rules that took effect last year. huge increase in phone calls or patient portal messages, just the opposite happened. Many physicians report these benefits of sharing clinical notes with patients: helps patients understand and remember the visit, promotes, medication adherence, builds patient trust, improves sharing decision making, and informs family members and caregivers. Want to learn more about how to leverage clinical note sharing? Check out this AMA guide that includes a six-step toolkit to help physicians, patients, and caregivers make the most of openly shared clinical notes.
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