From Our Mailbag: How are you handling the impact of COVID-19? What are Your Biggest Concerns?

HIM professionals from across the country and internationally have shared with us their concerns regarding the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

There is still time to share your thoughts. Please tell us how you have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.  TAKE SURVEY

We sent all coders, CDI and UR staff to work from home, I am Director and am onsite, Coding has drastically decreased but I am incredibly busy assisting Administration with researching and keeping up to date on the ever changing issues unregards to COVID. We are cross-training coders to refresh their IP coding skills to deal with the influx of IP.

We do public health so we are the go-to for COVID questions from the public and providers. We are doing the case follow-ups for our county. There has been a huge influx of webinars, all COVID related from our state health dept and they are important as this is how new information is passed along.

Closely following outside guidance. Waiting for inside guidance. Re-reviewing work alrerady done to newest guidance. Working in different roles such as patient/employee screenings at the facility.

I am an Outpatient surgery coder and the OP surgeries have decreased tremendously since the COVID 19 outbreak. I have been working from home for over 3 years so that has not changed. I have been able to get alot of yard work done when the weather cooperates!

I’m home-schooling a 3rd grader in addition to my regular responsibilities. Over-whelming!

Working from home-and I love it!

Dramatically less work along with increased stress…..then the physical changes— wearing a mask at work, constantly washing and sanitizing my hands, not leaving the house after work

Quarantine is like a jail sentence.

I work from home as a CDI consultant. My hours have been cut back to 20 hrs a week for the present time. The supervisor feels this will change in the next couple weeks. They are expecting census to “surge”.

As a manager, my responsibilities have not changed drastically but I am dealing with significantly reduced volumes for my staff. They are taking more unpaid time off and are concerned about their jobs and insurance benefits. I am spending more time listening to staff concerns.

Our workload has dropped. Half of us are being furloughed. The rest of us will get their workload so we are learning new things and will have plenty of work to do.

My work has not been impacted as much as that of my staff. Creating work for my staff of 25 when there is only work for 5 has been a struggle. The hospital has offered pay continuance for two pay-periods. When that ends my team will need to use vacation time or take unpaid time off.

Increase of people working remotely has impacted access to servers, which has affected my ability to work efficiently.

We are seeing our teams be creative, pull together and face challenges to serve our community. I am proud of the teams I manage and their ability to shine in times of pandemic crisis. It is truly empowering to watch people rise to the occasion.

Is this our new “normal”? Will COVID-19 forever change the way providers interact with patients? Will it be discovered that “Telehealth” is actually just as effective as F2F visits in the clinic, eliminating unnecessary travel and interaction in waiting rooms with long wait times.

Our employer does not want to layoff any one, so we are training in areas that have been waiting to train, they are allowing us to educate and obtain CEUS, and to work on our yearly goals.

I am inpatient coder. We have always worked from home so that hasn’t changed but it seems more stressful for some reason.

We are dealing with lots of changes. Moving more and more people home to work remotely. Setting up the physicians with telehealth. Coding of covid-19 cases. Making changes to our current forms to meet the telehealth needs.

I don’t think that we will ever get back to way things were – such as large numbers of people working in the office.

I have transitioned to doing a telehealth start-up plan and doing some CDI functions. Our remote coder is handling the majority of the coding cases as I am on-site.

Since we work for a large organization, instead of furloughing members they have redeployed them to other positions that assist the organization, such as environmental services, nutritional services or working in the warehouse/materials base. They like that they get to give back to our community/patients by assisting in this pandemic.

My position is a work from home position, however the census at this time has decreased due to lack of elective procedures being done and patients who are not critically ill being discharged. Coders are being advised that the census may swiftly pick back up as we see COVID-19 patients being admitted.

Fear of going into the hospital for work. I code for surgeons and with all non-essential surgeries being cancelled, I worry about my workload.

I work for home health and my branches are in some of the hardest hit areas of Michigan. I haven’t seen a lot of Covid 19 patients, which makes me nervous. I know there are plenty of them, just not sure if it’s that they haven’t been sent home yet or they aren’t making it home.

Hours have been cut (working currently 16 hours week). Slowly other departments are asking for help e.g., registration and insurance verification.

No surgeries are being done. Hours have been cut by 20% and may have to be cut more.

CDIS program suspended and I was told to stay home and file unemployment.. Despite that I reached out to Nursing and am being cross trained for another job. On site. working full time.

Less work…less money

Trying to keep my employees with work to do, since our census has decreased by half. Getting creative with personal time off and temporary reassignment of work or positions in other departments.

Increased educating of providers and staff on the ever-changing billing rules, and monitoring all non-in person claims for appropriate documentation.

I am a Supervisor of an outpatient hospital coding team. It feels like my work has increased even though the work coming in has decreased.

I see opportunities to stretch and challenge ourselves. Help our providers grow and embark on new health care delivery! We have been well informed, and in turn well prepared.

Because the elective surgeries are cancelled we have a decreased work load but this can change when elective surgeries are allowed. I have gotten calls for contract/consulting work since those companies who had employees in foreign countries like India need assistance now.

Our workload has decreased so much. It’s almost a good thing we had a backlog but that is quickly starting to disappear. I am afraid our hours will be reduced or we will be laid off. I didn’t think being in the medical field our work would be affected so much.

My job responsibilities have changed and will continue to change as we adapt from an extremely low census to an anticipated jump and possible field hospital opening. Keeping up with the predicted influx of patients will be extremely interesting.

I work in a critical access hospital so I am worried that we will not survive this as an independent hospital.

If the hospitals don’t have revenue coming in they might lay off non-essential staff. Cancer Registry is quite often falls into that category even though hospitals are required to report cases by law. Cancer Registry is not a revenue generating department of a hospital.

My workload as a director has increased during this time, but my staff’s time has decreased drastically.

I’m worried about having to send so many coders and others home on low census. I’m also worried about my staff that has to stay on site to do their jobs.

About the Author

Libman Education
Libman Education Inc. is a leading provider of training for the health care workforce offering self-paced and instructor-led online courses designed and developed by leading industry experts in Health Information Management (HIM) and Medical Record Coding. Our courses are specifically designed to improve individual skills and increase the efficiencies and competencies of health care providers and institutions. At Libman Education, we understand the needs and challenges of a well-trained workforce and offer the right-mix of online education to ensure that the health care professionals are prepared to meet the challenges of the changing workplace.

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