Patagonia Health Featured in KLAS COVID-19 Technology Guide

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Patagonia Health Featured in KLAS COVID-19 Technology Guide

KLAS Research's COVID-19 Technology Guide

KLAS Research recently highlighted Patagonia Health, a developer of Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) software for Public and Behavioral Health, in their COVID-19 Technology and Services Solutions Guide. Patagonia Health rapidly developed a COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Public Health Decision Making Tool within their software, which led to their inclusion in the KLAS Insight Report. The report is a quick guide for healthcare organizations to choose a trusted technology partner who can act fast to support them during these unprecedented times.

Public Health professionals, Patagonia Health’s primary customer base, are on the front lines combating this virus. Local Public Health agencies are tasked with identifying cases of COVID-19 and working with government officials on how to advise the community on precautionary measures. Patagonia Health’s risk assessment and decision-making tool responded to this urgent need by developing a screening tool that automatically categorizes an individual’s risk of infection. Similar to screening tools developed during previous public health emergencies, such as the Ebola outbreak, the COVID-19 Risk Assessment tool follows CDC guidelines exactly. 

“In this time of crisis, our development team worked quickly to implement the COVID-19 Screening Assessment for Patagonia Health’s users,” says Ashok Mathur, Co-Founder and CEO, Patagonia Health, “We understand the importance of combating this pandemic as we work with public health professionals each day. We feel honored to be highlighted in such a prestigious report, such as KLAS during these unprecedented times.” 

Additionally, Patagonia Health worked with LabCorp to facilitate the distribution of COVID-19 test kits. Users who have the LabCorp bi-directional lab interface can order COVID-19 test kits directly through Patagonia Health EHR. COVID-19 ICD10 diagnostic and CPT codes are updated and available to users in the interface. The assessment tool is now available free of charge to all Patagonia Health EHR users. 

To read the entire KLAS report, click here.

About Patagonia Health, Inc.

Patagonia Health, Inc. is a healthcare software supplier with a cloud and apps-based software solution that is designed specifically for Public and Behavioral Health agencies. The solution includes an integrated, federally-certified, Electronic Health Record (EHR), Practice Management (PM) and Billing software. The company’s mission is to solve two major barriers to EHR adoption − usability and cost − and address customers’ number one problem: billing. Patagonia Health’s highly-intelligent solution is extremely easy to use and provides timely data for organizations to improve workflow, streamline operations and take their organizations to the next level. For more information, visit https://patagoniahealth.com.

Read the press release here: https://www.prweb.com/releases/patagonia_health_featured_in_klas_covid_19_technology_guide/prweb17054026.htm

Telehealth Part 2: New Rules and Regulations from CMS

Telehealth: New Rules from CMS and Resources

During these unprecedented times, many adjustments are put into action to accommodate the new normal of social distancing. As previously discussed in our New Rules for Telehealth Technology blog post, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a large spike in virtual healthcare visits. In these times of rapid change, normal rules and regulations are relaxed to increase accessible care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently adjusted its policies so more practitioners can use telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

How CMS is Responding to COVID-19

Public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, require the U.S. healthcare system work quickly to make sure people are receiving necessary care. As the largest health insurer in the nation, CMS plays a critical role in enforcing new safety and billing guidance during these uncertain times. CMS has implemented temporary changes during our country’s state of emergency. Here is a quick summary of the timeline so far:

Timeline: 

March 13 – The United States declares COVID-19 as a national emergency. CMS publishes an initial emergency declaration fact sheet for healthcare providers.

March 17 – CMS announces an expansion of telehealth services covered for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS also approves the first state request for 1135 Medicaid waiver in Florida.

March 27 – 34 states officially approved for a Medicaid waiver under Section 1135 (see the CMS Newsroom for updated numbers).

March 30 – 80 additional telehealth services added under Medicare coverage.1  

These dates are only a few noteworthy occasions of the many changes made in the past month by our country. CMS reports that Medicaid waiver requests are being approved in historic turnaround times. Fulfilling waiver requests quickly grants states ample flexibility to serve individuals on Medicaid, who are often underserved in communities. CMS reports, “Other types of Medicaid waivers can require months of negotiation, but in light of the urgent and evolving needs of states during COVID-19 CMS developed a streamlined template for facilitate expedited application and approval of Medicaid 1135 waivers.”2  

What does a Section 1135 waiver mean?

The Medicaid-specific waivers approved to many states are under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act. These waivers specifically provide the healthcare system greater flexibility for providing care to individuals. Some of the temporary flexibilities include:

  • Waiving requirements in the authorization for fee-for-service program
  • Out-of-state providers can provide care to another state’s Medicaid population if they have been impacted by the national emergency
  • Waiving requirements that providers be licensed in the specific state they are providing care in (as long as they have equivalent licensure in another state)
  • Suspending requirements relating to pre-admission or annual screenings (specific to nursing homes)

CMS changes are evolving each day. It is important now more than ever to stay up to date with the facts. Regulations differ on a state and local level. As always, follow the guidance of your local health authorities. For further details on the Section 1135 waivers (specific to state Medicaid), please visit Medicaid.gov or trust reliable news sources, such as the CMS Newsroom. Furthermore, CMS is regularly updating this webpage to keep beneficiaries and healthcare professionals up to date.

Further Expansion for Telehealth

Telehealth is continually seeing an expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic. CMS is now allowing 80 additional services to be provided through telehealth, specifically for Medicare patients. Covered healthcare professionals may use any non-public facing product, such as FaceTime, Skype and Facebook Messenger to provide telehealth during this public health emergency. Penalties won’t be imposed on covered providers who have not entered into a HIPAA BAA with these vendors.

Billing has also been adjusted, allowing healthcare professionals to bill telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits. New and existing patients can now be at home while receiving various forms of healthcare.

As always, see CMS.gov for more information on the temporary regulatory changes and other changes that might be implemented. 

Patagonia Health is Here for You

There is so much information out there about COVID-19. Patagonia Health is here for you as a resource. We are regularly updating resource pages to specifically help you sift through the noise. 

State-Specific Telehealth Coding and Billing Cheat Sheets and other Educational Resources

COVID-19 Resources for Public & Behavioral Health

As a trusted Public and Behavioral Health EHR, practice management, and billing solution, we understand the importance of combating the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. Our team is currently collaborating with customers to develop a fully integrated telehealth solution. If we can be a service or resource for you, please contact us today. 

References:

1 https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/telehealth/cms-adds-85-more-medicare-services-covered-under-telehealth.html

2 https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-approves-34th-state-request-medicaid-emergency-waivers

Additional Resources:

The National Council’s COVID-19 Resources

CMS Emergency Information on COVID-19

Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Fact Sheet

Historic Expansion of Telehealth Announcement from HHS

New Rules for Telehealth Technology

It’s no question that COVID-19 is rapidly changing the way we live and work. New social distancing restrictions and shelter-in-place orders cause businesses to become creative in how to stream services online or operate from a distance. Since the beginning of this pandemic, healthcare providers have been on the front lines. As social distancing becomes increasingly important, even healthcare workers must implement measures to serve clients from afar. Telehealth is an even hotter topic right now for just this reason. 

We’ve seen a spike in organizations using technology to continue providing care. Offering telehealth keeps both patients and healthcare professionals safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. For that reason, the government recently lifted restrictions on telehealth. Telehealth is expanding to every type of healthcare provider, not just those working to treat COVID-19. The expansion of telehealth helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and provides more healthcare access to individuals during this unique time. 

So, what are these lifted restrictions and how can you get started with telehealth?

What is Telehealth?

Flow chart describing the differences between telehealth and telemedicine

Before we can understand new rules and regulations for telehealth, it’s important to define what telehealth is. Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services electronically or through telecommunications. It allows for individuals to receive health education, clinical visits, health administration from a distance by utilizing technology.1 Telemedicine is a category of telehealth. Telemedicine refers directly to clinical services being offered electronically. Telehealth covers a large umbrella of health services, as shown on the flow chart.

Relaxed HIPAA Regulations for Telehealth

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released last week that normal penalties on HIPAA noncompliance will not be imposed on organizations providing telehealth. This means that normal HIPAA requirements are now being relaxed to allow more healthcare workers to use telehealth. These rules may vary across states, so it is important to check local health authority updates. However, relaxed HIPAA regulations do not mean relaxed privacy standards. Security of a patient’s private health information is always held at first priority. These relaxed penalties allow professionals to begin offering care electronically as soon as possible. Here’s what you need to know about the new HIPAA guidance from OCR:

Healthcare Workers Can Now Use “Non-Public” Products to Offer Telehealth

Non-public products include technologies such as:

  • Apple FaceTime
  • Skype
  • Google Video Hangouts

Non-public applications still allow for the privacy of a patient’s information; whereas, public applications may not provide the same security. Public-facing applications are prohibited in electronic healthcare visits, even with the relaxed HIPAA regulations.  OCR specifically prohibits such “public-facing” solutions, which include apps like Facebook Live or Tik Tok.

Safety Not Automatically Ensured

While the commitment to privacy and security remains the same, it’s important to note safety is not automatically ensured in these non-public solutions. OCR recognizes the use of these applications will present potential risks in privacy. 

Clients and healthcare professionals should work diligently to confirm encryption and privacy modes are enabled in non-public applications. It is always better to double-check privacy settings rather than assume everything is in place. 

Roger Severino, the director at OCR, recently stated, “We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency.”2 Telehealth will allow more people to access the care they need during this trying time in public health history.

Getting Started with Telehealth

With telehealth quickly expanding, it’s important to know how to get started. The American Medical Association recently released a helpful quick guide to facilitate using implementation for providers. When getting started, it’s recommended organizations think through these 3 steps:

  1. Designate team members to make decisions quickly about solution options for a facilitated implementation
  2. Make sure your malpractice insurance carrier policy covers telehealth options
  3. Develop a base knowledge of the payment and policies that come with telehealth services

HHS additionally provides a list of technology vendors claiming to be HIPAA compliant.3 While this is not an exhaustive list, it includes vendors that would qualify as HIPAA-compliant products under the normal HIPAA circumstances. These vendors additionally claim to be willing to enter into a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with healthcare providers. In short, BAAs are legal documents that ensure video service products protect patient privacy. Products on the HHS list include:

  • Skype for Business / Microsoft Teams
  • Updox
  • VSee
  • Zoom for Healthcare
  • Doxy.me
  • Google G Suite Hangouts Meet
  • Cisco Webex Meetings / Webex Teams
  • Amazon Chime
  • GoToMeeting

Again, these products are not an exhaustive list. Although, they may be important to consider as a longer-term telehealth solution. These products have more established privacy policies as they are commonly used under normal HIPAA circumstances.

Stay Up To Date on Telehealth News

It is likely that we will continue to see an increase in electronic care options and policies as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. To stay up to date with the growing expansion and changes in telehealth, be sure to check trusted sources. The following links are resources to trust during the ongoing pandemic:

Patagonia Health is Here to Help

As a trusted Public and Behavioral Health EHR, practice management, and billing solution, we understand the importance of combating the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. As always, if there’s anything we can do to support you, please reach out to us. 

Blog Resources

1 https://www.healthit.gov/topic/health-it-initiatives/telemedicine-and-telehealth

2 https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/03/20/ocr-issues-guidance-on-telehealth-remote-communications-following-its-notification-of-enforcement-discretion.html

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html

https://blog.sigmundsoftware.com/hipaa-telehealth-coronavirus-provision?utm_campaign=Sigmund%20Blog&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=85054459&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8whNmUMZQfoIIp6zYVPoTQsnUVjhzK1ueThi9-6oo_XmdcqLlTmQaK2Z8exzrEIi6qGHnLyuM-1vIzI9icv1dz1UhT8A&_hsmi=85086582

https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/digital/ama-quick-guide-telemedicine-practice?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social_ama&utm_term=3207044834&utm_campaign=Public+Health

EHR Customer Satisfaction: UPswing!

EHR Customer satisfaction upbeat

Results of the 2017 HEALTHCARE IT NEWS “EHR Satisfaction Survey” indicate a move in the positive direction for respondents in feeling that their providers and not only listening to their concerns but are also evolving their systems in responsiveness to user feedback – in other words, EHR customer satisfaction is on the rise.  “It is a sign that innovation is taking hold among some products, and that certain EHRs are maturing into systems that users can appreciate,” writes Mike Millard, noting: “After years of frustrations, (the) user wish-list turns positive.”
 

Nearly half (47%) of respondents to the 2017 indicated they would score their system “eight” or higher (on a scale of 1-10) in answering, “What was your overall satisfaction with the EHR system?”
Accessible, friendly customer service and on-going training enhances users satisfaction with their EHR.  System developers like Patagonia Health have award-winning customer service being provided at an echelon which is proactive in its responsiveness, (for example via their Health Directors User Group) – rather than being simply reactive to user difficulties.   Patagonia Health and other web-based providers are able to maintain technological advancements with a regular schedule of incremental software releases, and free continuing education of current users via webinars is part of a progressive EHR culture – all of which contribute to user satisfaction.
Happy users mean happy clinics.
 
And happy clinics are not only productive clinics, they also make the world a better place.
 

What is YOUR satisfaction with your EHR?   If you aren’t happy, perhaps it’s time to find a different EHR family which will hear you and respond to your needs.    “Come on. . . .Get Happy!”  As the 2017 Healthcare IT survey shows: It’s possible!
 

Patagonia Health Supports 2-Factor Authentication

2-factor authentication

Patagonia Health EHR supports 2-factor authentication via one-time password (OTP) through SMS or email. Practice Administrators can modify 2-factor configuration in the EHR so that users logging into the EHR would be required to enter an additional 6-digit code that they receive on their registered SMS or email address.

 

This feature is not required to use the EHR, but is available for added security. State-of-the-art two-factor authentication (2FA) adds a second layer of security to confirm users’ identities. Added security measures reduce the probability of a hacker gaining access to data, resulting in fewer security breaches.

 

In order for 2FA to work, users must have a valid phone number and/or email address configured.  Phone number must be able to receive SMS messages keeping in mind that user may be billed by their carrier for receiving SMS.  Email address must be accessible from the location users are likely to log in.

 

Please contact Patagonia Health for more information about this 2 Factor Authentication optional feature at info@patagoniahealth.com.