HEALTHCARE AT HOME:
THE  ROWAN TECHNOLOGY REPORT

Serving the home health, home care and hospice industry since 1999.

by Tim Rowan, editor

With the details about our worldwide pandemic changing daily, numbers of the infected and deceased climbing hourly, and White House press conferences announcing new mitigation measures and softened regulations, home health and home care providers are poised to help. These providers know what to do with patients discharged from a hospital admission too early and too unstable to be left home without care. Indeed, they have been answering that call for years. But will they run into payment issues related to new, hastily added ICD-10 codes not found in their electronic health record software?

We checked with several software vendors to see what they are planning in order to help in-home nurses and caregivers and the companies that pay their wages and salaries.

Delta Health Technologies

President Keith Crownover queried his experts and told us, "We have had COVID-19 patients in our system for a couple of weeks and have had no issues to date. Though there was an emergency ICD10 code established by WHO (U07.1, 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease), we have seem no definitive guidance regarding the use of the code yet. All other codes that were documented in guidance documents already exist in the ICD10 code set."

 

Netsmart

Netsmart homecare and hospice clients have received an update to their EHR to incorporate COVID-19 screening questions built into their intake workflows. This is helping providers transition from keeping track on paper, and will be able to run reports on who has and has not been screened. 

 

Kantime

The Texas-based company has added screening questions to its software to be used at intake. They reminded users, and us, that their EHR system allows the flexibility to add a service, such as COVID-19 screening, and a customized billing code associated to that service. The software's client and schedule-specific alerts and instructions help to notify medical office staff to situations related to the patient that require special attention. The company has also added a COVID-19 Patient Screening Form, which doubles to screen agency employees as well, by asking four yes/no questions:

  • International travel within the last 14 days to countries with to a country with sustained community transmission?
  • Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, and sore throat?
  • In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with respiratory illness?
  • Residing in a community where the community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring?

The first question includes a link to a web site that is constantly updated with affected countries: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

 

Axxess

On March 18, Axxess hosted a webinar presented by Arlene Maxim, RN, HCS-C, and Neil Tantingco, CEO of Connected Home Living. The webinar was recorded and is available here.

 

WellSky

WellSky has published a "Home Care & Hospice Spring Compliance Alert." Written by Sharon S. Harder, President of C3 Advisors, LLC, it covers:

  • Thelatest COVID-19 announcements from CMS and the Centers for Disease Control, plus helpful links to review and bookmark.
  • Recent compliance updates for home health concerning therapy under PDGM, OASIS guidance, and the new round of ADRs that are expected this summer.
  • Recent compliance updates for hospice concerning Targeted Probe and Educate and the four fundamental requirements for the Certification of Terminal Illness.
 

Telehealth

With CMS announcing relaxed regulations to open up the use of telehealth systems, especially video visits, some of the companies with home health and hospice customers have systems than can be quickly implemented. Nevertheless, note that Administrator Seema Verma's announcement included only physicians. Check with your chosen telehealth vendor about daily changes in CMS regulations. They all promise to keep their customers up to date. Here are the most recent articles we have published about leading telehealth companies.

 

Nevvon

The Toronto-based online training company made this announcement:

In the home health care world, margins are razor thin and the impact of COVID-19 has already started to show. There is less travel, more people working from home, and decision-making is slowed down tremendously. As a small business owner, Nevvon has made a decision to contribute in its own small way:

  • we are offering free online training for COVID-19, one life saved it is all worth it
  • we have a limited supply of hand sanitizers which we have been distributing

If you have been thinking of doing your in-service online, Nevvon is offering deep discounts to help offset your costs during this time.  This is the time to keep your caregivers safe and your census safe. Limit physical interactions when you could do it remotely. nevvon.com

 

NAHC

The National Association for Home Care has assembled a Coronavirus Resource Page on its web site. nahc.org/resources-services/coronavirus-resources/nahc.org/resources-services/coronavirus-resources/

The association has also just launched a Coronavirus Products and Services Resources Page where product vendors and other partners can describe products and services that may be useful at this time. nahc.org/resources-services/coronavirus-resources/covid19-partners/nahc.org/resources-services/coronavirus-resources/covid19-partners/

NAHC also joined with other national associations and wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma with targeted requests for relief:

  • expedited access to, and financial support for, protective gear for in-home care workers
  • create direct connections between hospital and emergency department officials to home health agencies
  • expedite transitions of patients from skilled nursing facilities and other in-patient settings through clear discharge planning instruction.
  • priority testing of suspected at-home, isolated patients and their caregivers
  • relaxation of physician face-to-face encounters that authorize home health services to allow video visits to qualify
  • Financial support to help cover increased costs related to staffing benefits and shortages (overtime, sick leave, increased need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items
  • suspend the 2% sequester for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency
  • assisting hospice providers to secure needed PPE
  • Pausing audit activity for the duration of the emergency
  • expanded use of telehealth for hospice visits
  • Allowing PAs to perform the hospice F2F
  • Waiving the 5-day time frame for submission of the hospice Notice of Election and Notice of Termination/Revocation

For the entire list of NAHC's requests, go to report.nahc.org/national-hospice-groups-seek-relief-from-congress-to-address-covid-19-concerns


©2020 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. editor@homecaretechreport.com