With the COVID-19 pandemic in its ninth month in New York City, primary care practices have needed to become masters of everything. They are concurrently responsible for regulatory reporting to Medicare, Medicaid, and health plans, developing COVID-19 testing protocols, planning for potential vaccination distribution, delivering telehealth services, restarting in-person services, and managing new remote workforces. The challenges continue to grow, especially as the city enter a second wave of the pandemic.
Throughout this time, PCDC staff have been working with practices to maintain their access to incentive payments, including individual health plan pay-for-quality contacts, Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), and Meaningful Use (MU). As many of these requirements are based on in-person activity, providers have had to be creative in how best to meet the competing demands of these programs.
Isaac Kastenbaum, Vice President of Clinical and Quality Partners at PCDC recently sat down with a subset of the Clinical and Quality Partners’ team to talk about their experience supporting practices through COVID-19.
The team suggested a few key considerations for practices to keep front-and-center during the pandemic:
Maia Morse, Senior Program Manager, noted, “Practices have been good about maintaining chronic disease management activity because those patients are at higher risk for COVID-19…but preventative screenings have gone by the wayside when [practices] don’t know whether they’ll be remote or not next week.” “It can be hard to recover form a year’s worth of missing documentation,” stated Deborah Johnson-Ingram, Senior Director, when discussing an independent practice that the team was supporting.
These are challenging times – recent estimates show ambulatory volume returning to approximately 80%+ of pre-pandemic levels, but practices are still struggling to maintain the necessary revenue to cover their expenses. The pandemic is far from over, but practices are continuously evolving and being creative in their solutions to meet the needs of their patients. We’re observing and learning a lot from each partner – whether FQHC, independent practice, or behavioral health provider – and using those stories to inform our advocacy work. Our resiliency work is focused on ensuring local practices can learn from those lessons, too.
If we can be of assistance to your practice in managing your PCMH, MU, MIPS, or health plan reporting or to think through how best to deliver service during the pandemic, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.