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Operationalizing a COVID-19 Response by Leveraging Telehealth

Luigi Leblanc, MPH, CPHIT   There are several key changes to existing telehealth regulations that have transformed the way healthcare providers can leverage telehealth technology to practice medicine and yet mitigate the spread of COVID -19.   As per the Medicaid waivers under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (Act), the government broadened access to telehealth services as a tool to combat this pandemic.  Due to these changes, Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth across the country to include a patient’s places of residence starting March 6, 2020. In addition, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs. The following services are allowable and billable as per the new regulations:    MEDICARE TELEHEALTH VISITS – A visit with a provider that uses telecommunication systems between a provider and a patient VIRTUAL CHECK-IN – A brief (5-10 minutes) check in with your practitioner via telephone or other telecommunications device to decide whether an office visit or other service is needed. A remote evaluation of recorded video and/or images submitted by an established patient. E-VISIT – A communication between a patient and their provider through an online patient portal.  In addition, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is waiving penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients in good faith through everyday communications technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency and expanded the number of video applications that can be used for telehealth.   For healthcare providers, don't hesitate to implement telehealth into your practice, your patients need you more than ever.  Here are some key questions to ask as you get ready:    What is my start date?How do I get paid and reimbursed?How do I integrate Telehealth into my scheduling?  Do I have my patients’ current email and mobile number?How do I train my staff?How much does it cost?  Will my malpractice coverage cover Telehealth visit?What technology should I choose?   lang: en_US   ...

Webinar sponsored by Quality Insights

Luigi Leblanc, VP of Technology and Kem Tolliver, ZaneNet Consultant co-led a webinar today sponsored by Quality Insights, the Quality Improvement Organization for Pennsylvania and West Virginia entitled: "Operationalizing a COVID-19 Response within the Private Practice: Innovating Practice Operations and Leveraging Technology.   ...

Resources Available to DC Providers who are Leveraging Telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency

Alexandra Jellerette, M.A.   The federal government has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the current public health emergency.  As a result, healthcare professionals are implementing telehealth services to give patients more choices to interact with providers without having patients visit a doctor’s office which could put patients and providers at risk of exposure to COVID-19.  We encouraged District healthcare providers to attend a webinar where key District stakeholders with representatives from the Department of Health Care Finance, Medical Society of DC, DC Hospital Association, DC Primary Care Association, DC Behavioral Health Association, and DC Health Information Exchange (HIE) presented on the set-up of a telemedicine system, tips and tricks to make it useful for the providers and their patients. Questions were answered by regulators and the associations. After the webinar, a guide has been provided and a recording of the session for DC Medicaid Telemedicine Telemedicine Guide for Medicaid Providers   Below are some additional local and national resources:  DC Department of Healthcare Finance Telemedicine resource page DC Department of Health GUIDANCE ON USE OF TELEHEALTH IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet FAQs Telehealth and HIPAA during the CO-VID 19 Nationwide Emergency lang: en_US ...

Cybersecurity Tip for Small Healthcare Organizations

Conrad A. Clyburn, M.S. (U.S. Army Retired)   Cybersecurity practices are important for healthcare organizations in order to safeguard their practices from cyber threats to patients and the organization itself.  ZaneNet, in its role as a Management Service Organization, and with its certification with EHNAC - the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission-works with practices to advise them on how best to thwart threats that could result in the loss or theft of sensitive patient information.     As per the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council’s publication, Technical Volume 1: Cybersecurity Practices for Small Health Care Organizations. [add link to publication here: https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/405d/Documents/tech-vol1-508.pdfone of the top five prevailing threats to small practices is email phishing attacks.   Below are some tips as per this publication that practices can use to help reduce the risk:   Consider the following controls to enhance the security posture of your e-mail system. Check with your e-mail service provider to ensure that these controls are in place and enabled.  Avoid “free” or “consumer” e-mail systems for your business; such systems are not approved to store, process, or transmit PHI. We recommend contracting with a service provider that caters to the health care or public health sector.Ensure that basic spam/antivirus software solutions are installed, active, and automatically updated wherever possible. Many spam filters can be configured to recognize and block suspicious e-mails before they reach employee inboxes. Deploy multifactor authentication (MFA) before enabling access to your e-mail system. MFA prevents hackers who have obtained a legitimate user’s credentials from accessing your system.Optimize security settings within your authorized internet browser(s), including blocking specific websites or types of websites, to minimize the likelihood that an employee will open a malicious website link. Most browsers assess the possibility that a site is malicious and send warning messages to users attempting to access potentially dangerous sites.Configure your e-mail system to tag messages as “EXTERNAL” that are sent from outside of your organization. Consider implementing a tag that advises the user to be cautious when opening such e-mails, for example, “Stop. Read. Think. This is an External E-mail.”Implement an e-mail encryption module that enables users to securely send e-mails to external recipients or to protect information that should only be seen by authorized individuals.Provision every employee with a unique user account that is tied to a unique e-mail address. These accounts and e-mail addresses should not be shared and should be de-provisioned when the employee leaves the organization. If you have more questions on safeguarding your organization    lang: en_US ...

District’s Telemedicine Town Hall

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, telemedicine has become an invaluable tool to help District residents receive medical care, despite social distancing restrictions. However, many practices are new to telemedicine or unaware of the quickly changing rules around it.The District government and a coalition of healthcare associations have come together to create a presentation on the best practices for telemedicine. Join us on Wednesday, March 25 at Noon for this interactive webinar on how to set-up a telemedicine system, tips and tricks to make it useful for you and your patients, and get your questions answered by regulators and your associations.Presenters include representatives from the Department of Health Care Finance, Medical Society of DC, DC Hospital Association, DC Primary Care Association, DC Behavioral Health Association, and DC Health Information Exchange (HIE).The webinar will be conducted via Zoom. You will be asked to register before entering the webinar, and all participants will be muted, but there will be an opportunity to asks questions of the presenters. The link to register for the session is here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/upQucOuupjIpMAcfiRY4_YQwgn5LdOI4zQPlease join us for this informative and important session. ...

WBENC Certification

Zane Networks is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women. We recognize the commitment to supplier diversity that is embraced by corporations and government agencies today and we can add diversity to your supply chain. ...

26th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala

Zane Networks will be attending the 26th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards Gala on November 22, 2019, at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Located on 14th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC. Zane Net is proud to feature an ad in their program. The featured ad will be released on our social media. ...

Ward 8 Wide Turkey Drive

For the past few years ZaneNet has participated in the Annual Ward 8 Wide Turkey Giveaway to support 2,000 families in Southeast DC. This year ZaneNet has contributed funds to help purchase turkeys and other food items.  ...

Featured Story on DC Health Link

ZaneNet is featured on DC Health Link success story on "What Small Businesses are saying about DC Health Link". The full article is available through this link: https://dchealthlink.com/success-stories/story ...

ZaneNet receives Health Information Exchange (HIE) Connectivity Grant

ZaneNet as part of Team Enlightened has recently received funding from DC Healthcare Finance for the Health Information Exchange (HIE) Connectivity Grant. Under this grant, ZaneNet is partnering with Enlightened Inc., Children’s Hospital, DC Primary Care Association and the District of Columbia’s registered HIEs to outreach, connect and promote meaningful data exchange for 105 District provider organizations that bill Medicaid. For this project ZaneNet staff will provide direct technical assistance/practice coaching with the goal of creating a district-wide secure interoperable framework that fosters timely and accurate exchange of health information to improve DC residents’ health and social needs. ...