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Benchmark of the Week
A major patient communication vendor’s records show a massive spike in provider-to-patient interactions during the early days of America’s COVID-19 shutdown — an indicator of the importance of appropriate patient messaging in handling the COVID crisis.
The financial fallout of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) continues to plague frontline medical practices, with nearly nine out of 10 groups reporting “large decreases” in patient volumes.
Though the rate of Medicare enrollment growth has slowed, the Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE) meant to welcome patients to the program continues to grow steadily.
A survey gathering feedback from more than 700 Americans concluded that consumer demand for telehealth services will continue following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use of prolonged service codes went up between 2017 and 2018 and — since CMS is increasingly making use of them, especially for telehealth — it promises to go up more. But watch out for some denial traps. 
Nearly nine out of 10 medical facilities are experiencing personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In its quest to provide more remote services, CMS has come up with some new online codes in the past year but still pays for several older codes specifically geared to teleheath. These older codes don’t get much use, but their utilization is growing Ñ steadily and at a faster rate than their denials.  
On March 17, public health statistics confirmed what has appeared inevitable since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out earlier this year: The U.S. has confirmed coronavirus cases in all 50 states.

The specialties that claimed office E/M codes most often in 2017 held steady in terms of volume and payment in 2018. But for some specialties, the denial rates varied widely.

Internal medicine and family practice providers led the charge behind the 15% reimbursement gains for subsequent annual wellness visit (AWV) code G0439 between 2017 and 2018, when payments topped $844 million.


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