Inflation and the Need for Telehealth Access

Tag Archives: Behavioral Health EHR

Inflation and the Need for Telehealth Access

telehealth access

Telehealth access was the safest access to care in the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as COVID-19 vaccination rates and hospitalizations improve, telehealth is not going away. Rising inflation and gas prices due to the pandemic have created limitations on access to care. Let us show you how telehealth access can resolve these current challenges.

How Telehealth Access Mitigates General Inflation


General inflation has had an increase of almost 8% since the start of 2021. The increase in housing prices (renting and buying) and groceries, has jumped dramatically along with it. According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index, home prices increased in 2021 by 18.8%. This is the biggest increase in 34 years. Grocery costs are already up and expected to rise another 6% over the course of 2022. 

Telehealth access is a solution to the inflation that has been sweeping the United States. Telehealth visits are often less expensive than in-person visits. Lower prices in healthcare prevent more people from getting priced out of care.

How Telehealth Access Mitigates Rising Gas Prices

Gas prices are currently at an all-time high. The national average price for gas was around $2.796 one year ago, and as of March 2022, it was about $4.252. With rising gas prices spreading throughout the country, it makes a drive into the clinic more costly. Your clients and clinicians who live in rural areas will likely be hit the hardest by this. 

Clinicians having the opportunity to work remotely can help with employee retention. If your staff’s salaries are not being adjusted in the immediate term due to rising gas prices, you can at least help them save money.

Telehealth access allows your staff and clients to stay home for any care that can be provided remotely. This allows you to continue access to care that would have been strained or eliminated on either the patient or the clinician side due to rising prices. 

How Telehealth Pays for Itself

Rising inflation and gas prices have a negative effect on everybody’s wallets. Having telehealth access allows clients to be billed at a lower rate than an in-person visit. Your clients and clinicians save money on gas, and the money that would’ve been used for gas can be used for other expenses like groceries and housing. Telehealth access definitely helps save money. But how can telehealth access help you net more income?

With telehealth access available, more clients are likely to book appointments, which results in more billing (even if it is at a lower rate). This allows there to be more funding for operations at your clinic which, in turn, allows you to provide care to more of your community members. 

What Telehealth Solution is Best for You

Get a telehealth solution that is embedded in your EHR. An integrated telehealth app streamlines your workflow and eliminates juggling another piece of tech. When your telehealth tool and EHR are synced, you can eliminate duplicate entry for encounter notes. Furthermore, a telehealth tool within a HIPAA-compliant EHR will be secure and compliant with the latest standards and requirements. It is often less expensive to have an integrated solution also.

Ask your EHR vendor if they have a telehealth access app for their EHR solution. 

About Patagonia Health, Inc.

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Public Health and Behavioral Health organizations. Our federally certified, the easy-to-learn platform includes integrated practice management and billing software so you get one end-to-end solution. Employee-owned and organically grown, our mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your patients with the care they deserve. If you’d like more information about our solutions, contact us today.

Blog | EHR Evaluation and Shopping

Pediatric Mental Health: Fund Integration with Primary Care

pediatric mental health

The COVID 19 pandemic has taken tolls on many people’s mental health, but pediatric mental health has been especially affected. There has been a rising call for policy makers to fund behavioral health integration in children’s primary care clinics. As healthcare providers, you can help with these initiatives by being informed of policy developments and urging your local, state and government agencies to support this funding.

Why is this Funding Needed?

Funding behavioral health integration for children is a topic that has come up only in the last year or so, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had such a negative impact on pediatric mental health, that the American Academy of Pediatrics has declared a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health

No state in this country has enough children psychiatrists, and some have an extreme shortage.

Even though there has been effective treatment, there is a shortage of child trained behavioral health specialists. Due to this, many children who have psychiatric disorders either receive no treatment, or receive treatment in schools and primary care, where the level of behavioral health expertise is limited. 

The state Legislature’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Work Group wrote and published what they recommend to legislation that began in January 2022. Having funds provided for behavioral health integration at primary care clinics is their top priority.  

The funding is meant to train more pediatric healthcare providers in behavioral health services. If pediatricians are able to provide their young patients with proper behavioral health treatment, they are expanding their abilities, and providing a great service that many children need, especially considering the circumstances right now. This funding also can increase the level of expertise of behavioral health, which can be provided at sites other than primary care clinics, such as schools. 

How serious is this?

The shortage of pediatric mental health care providers is very serious. According to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, behavioral health disorders are estimated to occur in 15 million children and adolescents in the U.S, and the annual treatment costs approximately $40 billion. And as long as they don’t get the proper treatment that they need (and deserve), this problem is only going to get worse. Child psychiatric disorders can get worse as they get older, and if they’re not treated properly or not treated at all, their social, educational, and economic abilities will suffer quite a bit. 

What can pediatricians do?

As a pediatrician, here are some things you can do to help your patients. Push for policies to get funding for these initiatives. Implement training programs in your clinics to support pediatric mental health. Partner with behavioral health professionals in your communities. Consider hiring a behavioral health specialist at your primary care clinic as well. 

Funding for pediatric mental health is absolutely necessary if you want to help young children who are suffering from psychiatric issues. The level of expertise will rise among pediatricians, and proper care can be given to your patients. Also, with the proper funding, schools can also hire behavioral health specialists who can give treatment, so the children do not always have to go to a primary care clinic.

About Patagonia Health

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Public Health and Behavioral Health organizations. Our federally certified, easy-to-learn platform includes integrated practice management and billing software so you get one end-to-end solution. Employee-owned and organically grown, our mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your patients with the care they deserve. If you’d like more information about our solutions, contact us today.

Behavioral Health | Blog | Legal

EHR Apps Study Spells the Future of Healthcare

EHR apps

EHR apps are not new yet since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of apps integrating with Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs) has increased significantly. A study on apps integrating with EHRs was conducted from December 2019 to December 2020 by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The study showed that the number of apps that had integrated with EHRs had increased from 600 to 734 (roughly a 20% increase) over the course of 2020.

Type of apps integrating with EHRs

There were several types of EHR apps that integrated with EHRs during the height of the pandemic. Administrative apps that handled scheduling, check in, and billing made up 42% of available apps. Clinical apps were also common, making up 38% of apps. These apps can perform automated tasks, population health, telehealth, and clinical decision support. Other apps focused on care management, patient engagement, and research. Those three combined categories made up about 56% of apps.

Reason for study

The goal of the study about EHR apps was to set a guideline for the app market before the ONC Cures Act Final Rule was implemented. The final rule, which was published in March 2020, and was effective as of April 2021, and set several conditions to promote transparent and competitive business practices. Those practices would ease the adoption and use of application programming interfaces by third party app developers.

What study results mean for the future of EHR Apps

In this study, the data showed that there is still room for growth and variation in the EHR apps available. Updates to the ONC Health IT Certification Program (which resulted from the ONC Cures Act Final Rule) are meant to support a more powerful system of third party apps. 

By the end of 2022, It will be mandatory for health IT developers to support FHIR based APIs for patients (and the general public). They will also have to follow the new conditions and maintenance of certification to promote and practice business. 

The ONC will continue to conduct such research in the future to see what changes may need policy changes, which could help increase the speed of data change.

What healthcare professionals should watch out for

These apps more easily provide accessible data between patients and other healthcare professionals. They allow patients more accessibility to you and their medical records. They ease your billing and claims processes. They integrate with your external devices like patient scanners and fax machines. 

This study and any new resulting guidelines or policy changes help push the future of your healthcare forward from a technology perspective. It also sets standards to hold health IT developers and third party app providers to, so that you can be ensured you have the best tools available to treat your patients. 

Continue to track these ONC studies and standards set for EHR apps. 

If you are shopping for a new Electronic Health Records solution, ensure vendors only integrate with reputable third party apps vendors which are ahead of the curve on following these standards. Or, look out for EHR companies that develop their own apps and are an ONC certified solution so that you can ensure you have the most up to date technology that can best serve you and your patients.

About Patagonia Health

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Public Health and Behavioral Health organizations. Our federally certified, easy-to-learn platform includes integrated practice management and billing software so you get one end-to-end solution. Employee-owned and organically grown, our mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your patients with the care they deserve. If you’d like more information about our solutions, contact us today.

Blog | EHR News

Behavioral Health Trends for 2022

behavioral health trends for 2022

Mental health has been taken more seriously by the public in the last decade or so. Behavioral health trends for 2022 center around increased interest in improving psychological well-being. Clients want whole-person care and care models and access to services that work best for them. We’ve outlined what those are for you.

Public Awareness about Mental Health

One behavioral health trend for 2022 is the continued public awareness of these health care needs. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people realized more than ever how important it is to seek help for mental health. It also became clear the need for a better system to support behavioral health in the US. 

Before the pandemic, mental health was not discussed as openly as now and was still brushed aside as less important than physical health. Now it is no longer as taboo or disregarded.

Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) is becoming more popular as more members of the public see the need for holistic care. 

Find ways your behavioral health specialists can participate with primary care providers even if you are not part of the same clinic. 

  • Can you build relationships and stronger referral networks with primary care providers? 
  • How can you improve communication and record exchange with primary care providers? 
  • Are there things you can provide primary care providers to screen for mental health and substance abuse issues? 

Integrating behavioral health and other health services is the way to better care. Now your clients are aware of this also and are seeking to find it. 

Value Based Health Care Models

Another Behavioral Health trend for 2022 is value-based care. More clients and clinicians are leaning towards this over the traditional pay-for-services model. 

Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg introduced this concept around 15 years ago in their book, Redefining Health Care. In value-based care, a reimbursement by private insurance companies is given based on the quality of care given. The reimbursement is linked to the client’s health outcome. A higher rate of client satisfaction leads to a higher reimbursement and vice versa.

In a pay-for-service model, insurance reimbursement is made for the care provided, regardless of quality.

Many caregivers are switching to value-based care because it has more benefits (lower costs, growth, and improved care). Clients prefer it because they receive more satisfactory care. 

Value-based care benefits both sides well, thus it is unlikely there will be a decrease in this trend. As this is becoming standard, stay ahead of this trend and install value-based care initiatives in your practice. Also, consider how your EHR can support a mixed model of reimbursements as you transition.

Telehealth for Behavioral Health

A final behavioral health trend for 2022 is telehealth. Telehealth is not new, but this behavioral health trend has only gotten more popular. Telehealth is not going away, as described by this telehealth infographic. Telepsychology and telepsychiatry are now expected procedures by clients. 

With 2022 allowing more in-person visits than 2020 and 2021, there is now a mixed model on care visits. Some clients feel more comfortable meeting in person now. You still need to continue providing virtual visits. Some clients are still cautious about COVID-19 or do not have transportation. Some just prefer not to drive to your clinic.

Consider a discounted rate for virtual visits. Offer services such as group therapy in virtual formats if you are not already doing so. Telehealth can increase your operations budget while saving your clients and clinicians money. 

Finally, consider the type of telehealth platform you are using. Use an embedded EHR telehealth solution. Benefits include cost savings, workflow streamlining, and meeting HIPAA compliance. Find out if your EHR provider has a telehealth solution available.

About Patagonia Health

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Behavioral Health organizations. Our federally certified, easy-to-learn platform includes integrated practice management and billing software so you get one end-to-end solution. Employee-owned and organically grown, our mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your clients with the care they deserve. If you’d like more information about our solutions, contact us today

Behavioral Health | Blog

Behavioral Health Team Created at Patagonia Health

behavioral health team

Patagonia Health has developed a Behavioral Health team who will help the company better serve their customers with their EHR designed specifically to support Public Health and Behavioral Health agencies. This dedicated team will also help grow and expand the company’s reach further throughout the nation. This new team consists of three very knowledgeable and experienced professionals with over 40 years of combined experience in the Behavioral Health EHR space. 

Behavioral Health Team Members

Jonathan Strange is a proven enterprise healthcare leader with 20+ years working in Behavioral Health as a clinician and providing clinically driven content development to different electronic health record (EHR) platforms, with a dedicated commitment to consumer first methodology. As a clinician, he worked as both a Mental Health therapist in a forensic patient environment as well as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor at various agencies in New York State. Jonathan then went on to be part of a start up company geared specifically toward providing an EHR solution for Mental Health and Substance Abuse providers. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral Health team as Clinical Director.

Darryl Stanford a business executive with 15+ years of experience in Behavioral Healthcare companies that serve consumers with mental health and substance abuse diagnoses. He brings his leadership expertise to the Behavioral Health team in operations, billing, organizational sustainability and growth, and customer success from the National Counseling Group and other small to mid-level Behavioral Health agencies. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral team as Director of Development.

Roderic Peay is a billing analyst and former healthcare provider for children with Mental Health disabilities, in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. He brings 10+ years of experience navigating and mastering multiple electronic healthcare record (EHR) software systems. He has also overseen and implemented training programs for new hires on various EHRs. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral teams Customer Satisfaction Specialist. 

Patagonia Health is committed to customer satisfaction and patient care. They understand the day-to-day challenges Public Health and Behavioral Health practices face because the Patagonia Health EHR is designed by industry experts. They keep a great relationship with their clients and continue helping them as much as possible by supporting them with a team that’s knowledgeable about their specific work. Patagonia Health also stays committed to delivering quality care to the communities their clients in healthcare serve . Whether it’s Public Health needs or Behavioral Health needs, Patagonia Health offers its best-in-class Support Team. 

About Patagonia Health

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Public and Behavioral Health organizations. Their federally certified, easy-to-learn platform includes integrated practice management and billing software so you get one end-to-end solution. Employee-owned and organically grown, Their mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your patients with the care they deserve.