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Letter from the President

April 3, 2020

Greetings CtHIMA Members!

For most, the end of a challenging work week in these trying times as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates with the number of confirmed cases, deaths and towns in Connecticut affected multiplying daily.

As promised, I have here the most current guidance for coding the new COVID-19 ICD-10-CM code of U07.1 published April 1st on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/icd/COVID-19-guidelines-final.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/icd/ICD-10-CM-April-1-2020-addenda.pdf

Our profession, too, continues onward – helping to establish safer options to patient care such as telemedicine, telehealth and telephone visits by providing needed information on effectively documenting, coding and billing for these services in a compliant and accurate manner while assuring privacy and confidentiality.

Although often used interchangeably, it is important to note the differences between telemedicine and telehealth.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines telemedicine as “… using telecommunications technologies to support the delivery of all kinds of medical, diagnostic, and treatment-related services, usually by doctors.” 

Whereas, the FCC states that telehealth telemedicine “… includes a wider variety of remote healthcare services beyond the doctor-patient relationship.”

There are four different telehealth modalities: 1) live video; 2) mobile health; 3) remote patient monitoring; and 4) store-and-forward. But be advised, these options are being expanded by payers to better adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check with your payers!

Middlesex Community College in Middletown, Connecticut reports that the HIM program there has been minimally impacted by the pandemic and the closing of the campus since most of the courses are fortunately offered online making only minimal any disruption. Course offerings for the upcoming fall semester too will be offered in full and online. Arrangements for campus visits for perspective students will prove the greatest challenge for the fall. Students need to be admitted and register remotely during this crisis.

Although difficult, when you take a moment to really think about all of this, imagine just how much more difficult all of this would be without the technology we in HIM have helped put into place to ensure a more fluid continuum of patient care.

Thank you, stay well and be safe!

Jim Donaher
President CtHIMA


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