The following blog post was written by Shannon Beebe, Manager of Healthcare Operations.

It is hard to believe that we are approaching the end of 2020. What a year it has been!

COVID-19 has impacted our entire nation, including how and where we receive primary care. Telemedicine, and video conferencing, as a means of receiving primary care, has become the norm, rather than the exception.  To ensure continuity of care the healthcare delivery environment changed, and we needed to adapt the best we could.

As a healthcare consulting firm dedicated to assisting practices to achieve and maintain their Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition, we were fortunate enough to partner with some outstanding clinicians and practices throughout the year. We found our physician and practice partners faced their own set of challenges related to COVID-19, as well as creative ways to overcome them.

As a parent of a special needs child, I personally understand the significant challenges which families faced.  In my work, I was fortunate to witness the compassionate responsiveness of physicians and practices to address these needs. In specific, one of our pediatric practices took a proactive approach in addressing behavioral health needs during this challenging time. This practice understands that social determinants of health and behavioral healthcare diagnosis’s affect your ability to not only protect yourself from COVID-19, but also cope with the changes that this pandemic has brought into the lives of all our children. At the inception of the pandemic, this practice reached out to their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) vendor to create a report for all patients with a behavioral health diagnosis. With this report in hand, a team member reached out to all families to ensure that they not only had a phone or video follow-up appointment with their pediatrician but also to ensure that they had access to everything that they needed to maintain as much normality as possible during this trying time. At the telehealth and video visits, the clinicians not only addressed the medical and behavioral health need, but also remote learning and social determinants that may affect the patient’s ability to be successful in this new environment.

As a large organization, another client was deeply effected by COVID-19. The pandemic did not only affect their patients, but also their staffing. Since the schools were closed, as well as the school-based health clinics, the organization ensured same-day access for all of their practice sites by rotating their school-based clinicians into the practice site locations to address the increased demands of patient care delivery. Same-day visits were accommodated over telehealth, in person, or by video conferencing. This allowed each patient to be seen when they felt they needed and were able to choose the mode of the visit that would work best with their current situations. This flexibility ensured that the organization was able to offer timely access to their patients, even though they had limited staffing. As a patient, you would not have known the barriers that the organization was facing because it was a seamless transition.

Every client that RMS Healthcare had the pleasure of partnering with during this unprecedented time has truly embraced their role as healthcare leaders and providers. Each one has challenged themselves to think more strategically and be even more open-minded and compassionate. It has been an absolute pleasure to take this journey with them!

The RMS Healthcare team brings a great deal of experience and knowledge. Not only is the RMS team experts in PCMH, we also have extensive experience with care management, utilization management, quality outcomes, and assessing and managing social determinants of health. We will not only be your consultant; we are your partner.

One of our past clients stated, “RMS Healthcare was a pleasure to work with. They were so responsive and flexible to the needs of our team. The process was like working with a valued teammate (rather than a consultant) to achieve shared goals.”  Your RMS team is invested in you, your practice, and your success. We love what we do, and it shows.

If you are interested in learning more about our healthcare consulting capabilities, please contact Susan Maxsween, Vice President of Healthcare Operations and Consulting at SusanM@RMSresults.com.