Coping With Work and Stress During COVID-19

Coping With Work Stress During Covid19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been very tough on workers, whether you have been working remotely or going to the office every day. The relationship between work and stress has long endured, but stress rates have climbed over the course of the pandemic. From fear about the disease to workplace stress, it is a recipe for burnout and poor results on the job. How can you cope with work and stress during COVID-19?

Are You Feeling Stressed?

Before you can work on balancing work and stress, it’s important to recognize what you are dealing with. Some of the signs that you are experiencing high levels of stress include:

  • A lack of motivation
  • Feeling more irritated or angry than usual
  • Feeling depressed or sad
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling anxious or uncertain
  • Feeling burnt out or overwhelmed
  • Trouble concentrating

A lot of these symptoms have flourished due to the unique circumstances surrounding work and stress during the pandemic. Needing to take care of at-home schooling for a child while working on your own workload, for example, can dramatically increase stress levels over time. Uncertainty about your job, work schedule and managing new technology can all also make you feel more stressed out.

How to Manage Work and Stress

  1. Communicate with your supervisors and coworkers about the best way to manage work and stress so that everyone can thrive even during difficult times. It’s also important to understand any available mental health resources that are provided to you through your workplace.
  2. Control as much as you can. Keeping a schedule is one way that you can feel like you are in control, so focus on exercising each day, keeping a regular sleep schedule, ending work around the same time every day and spending time with your loved ones safely.
  3. Do as much as possible to control your exposure to COVID-19. By staying healthy and doing your part, you can help to limit the damaging impact of work and stress during this period. Your actions do matter, even if it might not seem that way.
  4. While it’s good to have access to some information, many of us can rapidly slide into information overload. Practice taking a break from reading the news or checking social media for a few hours or days at a time. If anything really important happens, you will hear about it elsewhere. In the meantime, you can get a break.

Take Time for Yourself with Healthcare Resolution Services

HealthCare Resolution Services is a professional services firm dedicated to providing healthcare industry clients with value-added consulting solutions and health information management services. From our headquarters in Columbia, MD, we provide services to practices throughout the country. To learn more about how we can optimize your business, call us today at (866) 599-4277.

 

HCRS Attends The National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Conference

 

HCRS Meets President Biden

Columbia, MD business owner Brenda Doles, who with her husband, built a successful government contracting business into a multimillion-dollar enterprise with 400 full-time employees.

Ms. Doles attended a White House reception on Aug. 26, 2009, during the National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Doles, a Registered Nurse of 30 years, was acknowledged by then Vice President Biden, for her service to our country. 

Founded in 1998, HCRS helps healthcare organizations improve data quality, program outcomes, and organizational performance through a suite of Health Information Management (HIM) and Health Information Technology (HIT) services that include medical coding and auditing, data abstraction, research and survey support, plus, clinical staffing services. We offer a depth and breadth of experience across the healthcare continuum that distinguishes us in the industry. Since our founding in 1998, HCRS has focused exclusively on serving the needs of public healthcare programs. In the ensuing decades, we have developed specific technologies and national best practices that are the best in class in terms of results and quality.

Our clients Department of Defense (Army, Air Force, Navy), Veterans Administration, Health and Human Services, Cigna Health Care, are just a few of our long-term clients. The spectrum is vast, diverse, and inclusive. 

HCRS is based in Columbia, Maryland, and more than 90 percent of our employees work virtually. “We have boots on the ground in nearly all 50 states. We are positioned and ready to meet the needs of our clients in any place at any time. As the principal of our company, I am committed to growing and expanding in a way that keeps us at the forefront of the health care industry.”

Interested in working with HCRS? Tell us about your organization and we can discuss how HCRS can lend the support you need to move forward. Fill out our contact form today to get started.

 

How HCRS Can Provide Support During the Medical Research Process

How HCRS can provide support in medical research

Medical research is the engine of innovation in healthcare. Research drives new discoveries in the ways pathogens behave, how to treat patients and how to forge a path to better healthcare. By necessity, clinical research is an exacting and exhaustive process. Each step forward needs to be supported by clinical statistics and relevant data. Medical research is accompanied by robust documentation and quality assurance processes to ensure results are accurate and replicable.

Medical researchers with academic institutions and government agencies are experts in their fields, but they have to juggle multiple demands on their time and resources. HCRS offers medical research support to help the experts do what they do best.

Data Abstraction

Medical records are an essential source of information for researchers. They can be used in various ways, often under guidance by an institutional review board (IRB). Medical records contain a wealth of data on various health conditions and approaches to treatment.

With the advent of electronic health records, these documents have become even easier to search and access. Yet, medical records remain dense. Depending on the scope of the study, researchers may be tasked with sifting through thousands upon thousands of pages to find the data relevant to their efforts. Manually searching takes a significant amount of time and resources, which are assets that are limited for researchers.

Outsourcing clinical data abstraction can help reduce the amount of time searching for data, giving researchers more time to study data and make progress in their work. HCRS has a qualified team of coders, statisticians and nurses who can examine medical records and pull out the necessary data.

For example, HCRS has provided text string coding for the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) in support of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. MEPS is a set of surveys that provide insight into healthcare utilization and cost, as well as insurance coverage. The HCRS team translated narrative data into codes for use of the surveys.

Interpret stats in medical research

Data Analysis

Clinical research support can go beyond pulling the relevant data. Once researchers have amassed the data relevant to their work, they need to make sense of it and recognize patterns. With the growing role of big data in healthcare, the sheer amount of data and the opportunities it represents are enormous. How is the data stored and organized? How is it read?

Data analysis in medical research is another time-consuming piece of the puzzle that researchers set out to solve. Statistics for medical research are complex, and analysis is a painstaking process that often takes a multidisciplinary approach. HCRS also has team members with the expertise to read, interpret and analyze this data for research projects.

HCRS has worked on a project with Truven Analytics, supporting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analytics (CHIA). The study was designed to compare All-Payer Claims Databases (APDCs) between states. The project involved delivering a state-by-state analysis, which CHIA could use to inform the integration of Medicare data going forward.

Provide Training

Medical research is a carefully designed process with defined protocols to ensure the quality and ethics of the work being conducted. IRBs must approve research project design and protocol before it can begin. Naturally, protocol writing in clinical research is an essential skill.

Clinical research protocol is an action plan that determines how a study will be conducted. Typically, a chief researcher is the central figure in establishing a clinical research protocol, but medical studies usually involve a team of people. Postgraduates and researchers who are new to the field may be a part of the team. Seasoned researchers need the support of team members like this, but they may not have the bandwidth to teach them the ins and outs of creating research protocols and writing a research proposal.

Improper documentation and poorly written proposals can cause delays in the research process. Researchers want their full team up to speed as quickly as possible to avoid those potential errors. Mistakes made in the clinical protocol process can lead to issues during IRB review. HCRS provides training on research protocols to help everyone on the team be prepared to write clear, effective protocols that are ready for IRB review.

We also work with our clients to provide project management training. Medical research has many different moving parts. It is essential that members of the clinical research team are prepared to manage the different elements of a project, keeping it on-time and on-budget.

Provide Experience and Expertise

At HCRS, we understand the importance of quality assurance in clinical research. We have been providing clinical research support for decades, which means we have extensive experience working with the strict government protocols that dictate the research process. Even small errors can lead to research being disqualified. All of the hard work poured into a project can go to waste without careful adherence to research protocols.

Our team provides exhaustive quality assurance and training to help your team through every step of the research process. With the right support, you can be assured your hard work will meet the necessary requirements and make the hoped for contribution to medical research.

HCRS has built its experience in part through serving as a principal investigator. Principal investigators are the cornerstone of effective clinical research. This role is responsible for the overall management of a clinical research project, carefully monitoring the design of the project and its execution. All of the work a principal investigator does is within rigorous government, organizational and institutional standards. In this role, HCRS has been the leader guiding research from start to finish.

Our experience and expertise help to guide our clients and assure them they have the support they need to complete their research. No matter where we lend our support, we have years of experience backing our service.

HCRS Can Support Your Medical Research

Medical research is essential to our future. No matter your project, we can help. HCRS offers support through data abstraction and analysis, medical coding and auditing, and project management. We have helped support organizations like IMPAQ International, Advanta Healthcare Partners, Truven Analytics and RTI International. If you want to outsource healthcare research support, we have the expertise and the track record to work with you.

Tell us about your organization and your research project, and we can talk about how we can lend the support you need to move forward. Fill out our contact form today to get started.

HCRS can support your medical research

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, or the CMMC, is a verification program that ensures defense contractors for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) are capable and ready in the area of cybersecurity. CMMC requirements ensure your cybersecurity controls and processes can adequately protect the sensitive information you have access to.

At HCRS, one service we offer is preparing and guiding DoD suppliers seeking to get certified and stay compliant with the CMMC. We have been working with a variety of governmental bodies for over 20 years, and we have the experience to help businesses small and large navigate working with the government.

If your business needs help getting ready for the CMMC certification, don’t get confused by industry lingo, IT talk or multiple maturity levels. HCRS will give it to you straight — from one small business contractor to another.

What Is the CMMC Certification?

Companies that want to work with the U.S. DoD will need to meet the CMMC requirements to bid on contracts. The first version of the much-anticipated Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification was released in January 2020. This unified standard ensures all contractors are up to the task of executing cybersecurity across the defense industrial base (DIB).

In years past, companies working for the DoD were responsible for their own security technology, as well as sensitive DoD information that happened to be stored or transmitted on their systems. However, this system sometimes resulted in serious compromises and information leaks. The CMMC requires third-party assessment of contractors to ensure:

  • Compliance with mandatory practices and procedures.
  • Adequate cybersecurity capabilities.
  • The ability to adapt to new and evolving cyber threats.

The CMMC Framework

The CMMC has five established certification levels. Each level builds upon the one before to reflect the maturity and reliability of a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. These technical requirements ensure a company can safeguard sensitive DoD information stored or transmitted on the contractors’ system. For your company to be considered compliant, you must meet each level’s requirements and implement specific cybersecurity-based practices.

  • Level 1: Basic cyber hygiene practices, such as regularly changing passwords and using antivirus software to safeguard Federal Contract Information (FCI), or information not intended for public release.
  • Level 2: Intermediate cyber hygiene practices and implemented security requirements to protect any Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) or unclassified information that requires safeguarding.
  • Level 3: Good cyber hygiene practices and implemented security requirements to safeguard CUI.
  • Level 4: Established enhanced practices to detect and respond to the changing tactics and techniques of advanced persistent threats (APTs).
  • Level 5: Optimized processes, enhanced practices and sophisticated capabilities to detect and respond to APTs.

Who Must Comply With the CMMC?

The CMMC certification will eventually be required by any DoD contractors or companies doing business with the U.S. government in any capacity. This includes:

  • All suppliers.
  • Small businesses.
  • Commercial item contractors.
  • Foreign suppliers.

Get CMMC Ready Today

HCRS is not an auditing company, and we do not grant certification. Rather, our goal is to guide your company through the CMMC certification process. We have been working and cooperating with government agencies for over 20 years, and we are a Registered Provider Organization (RPO). You will get the experience and information you need without confusing lingo or IT terms to get in the way — preparing your company for the CMMC in a way that’s not confusing or intimidating.

Let us help guide you through the CMMC framework and get your company ready for the certification process. Contact us today to learn more.

HCRS Teams Win Places on Government-Wide IT Contracting Vehicles

ANOTHER WAY FOR FEDERAL AGENCIES TO “REACH” HCRS HEALTH INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAM INTEGRITY SERVICES… AND TO MEET A WIDE VARIETY OF AGENCY IT NEEDS QUICKLY AND FLEXIBLY

A Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) offers all Federal agencies a streamlined and cost-effective way to purchase Information Technology (IT) services. The two CIO-SP3 GWACs (Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 3) — one for unrestricted procurement (any size business) and one small business version to help agencies reach socioeconomic goals — are 10-year contracts administered on an all-agency basis by NITAAC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center. CIO-SP3 allows expedited acquisition of health and biomedical related IT services to meet Federal defense and civilian agencies’ scientific, health, administrative, operational managerial, and information management requirements. CIO-SP3 also contains general IT services, because medical systems are increasingly integrated within a broad IT architecture, requiring a systems approach to their implementation.

Many health information management and program integrity services can be obtained through the CIO-SP3 vehicle. HCRS is a subcontractor to one unrestricted and two small business contractors.

  • Xerox is our unrestricted (large business) prime contractor for CIOSP-3. Xerox is a growing presence in the Federal IT space, with contracts with some 25 agencies.
  • Paragon is a small business offering logistics, integrated governance, advanced technology and data management services to health, science, other civilian and defense agencies.
  • SCSJV is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Joint Venture, a group of innovative, stable and fiscally responsible, agile and price-sensitive companies, primarily small (85%) and committed to staying together throughout the life of CIO-SP3.

CALL US to find out how to leverage CIO-SP3 to meet your health information management and other IT needs!

HCRS Principal Addresses Small Businesses on Successful Federal Sub-Contracting

“Focus on your company’s uniqueness and understand that the secret ingredient is YOU, and you will succeed as a Federal subcontractor,” HCRS Principal Brenda Doles, RN, MBA told an audience of about 100 Philadelphia area small business owners recently. The event was one of a series of community outreach events sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) to encourage more small business participation in Federal contracting. At the Philadelphia event, the emphasis was on how to find, win and carry out subcontracting opportunities, from both the prime’s and the subcontractor’s perspectives. HCRS and one of its prime contractors, RTI International, presented each side of the story.

Ms. Doles pointed out that subcontracting has several advantages to small businesses as an introduction to the Federal marketplace. For example, she noted, subcontracting can shortcut the typical government sales cycle of 18 months. Regulations for market entry as a subcontractor are less stringent than those for primes. Mentor/Protégé arrangements (both formal and informal) can facilitate teaming and help new small businesses gain “past performance” that will help them win more business. Her advice to small businesses on how to win contracts? “Identify your target client. Know your client and do your homework. Plan. Be prepared. Seize the moment. Be flexible and expect the unexpected. Most important, have a passion for what you do.”

HCRS Helps Policymakers Understand and Predict Healthcare Use

During the past year HCRS has developing an ongoing relationship with RTI International, an independent not-for-profit research institute that does important work for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and other Federal healthcare agencies. We have supported RTI in two research studies activities.

  • Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) coding. MEPS is a large scale survey of families and individuals, their medical providers, and employers across the United States that is the Federal government’s go-to source of information on the cost and use of health care and health insurance coverage. RTI’s role is to analyze raw data from the surveys to create the information that policymakers need. HCRS helps in the analysis by turning written descriptions of care from doctors and hospitals into medical codes, making it possible for biostatisticians to aggregate and manipulate the data.  The data are then shared with government and other health policy researchers such as the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Kaiser Family Foundation finding illustrated at right, like many such findings in non-government organization policy research, is based on MEPS data.
  •  Medicare Advantage Predictive Model DRG mapping. Federal officials use a mathematical model to predict future use of health care services in Medicare managed care plans (“Medicare Advantage”).  The prediction becomes part of the payment the managed care plan receives for taking care of each member. The current model was built using ICD-9 codes. We were asked to make the model accommodate ICD-10 coding by “backward mapping” ICD-10 coded data to ICD-9.

HCRS Assists in Reporting Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) Accurately.

HCRS is working with Advanta Medical Solutions, LLC to validate the accuracy of hospitals’ reporting of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) to the state. HAIs are infections acquired in the course of receiving health care. They are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 1.7 million HAIs in this country each year, resulting in about 100,000 deaths, and costing millions of dollars in lost productivity. For public health and safety reasons, it is critically important that government officials have accurate records of where these infections are occurring. Therefore, HCRS auditors, along with auditors from Advanta, audit a sample of medical records at hospitals around the state to ensure that HAIs are captured and accurately reported. The results of the audits are passed along to the Maryland Health Care Commission.

HCRS Helps Determine How Well “Patient-Centered Medical Homes” Work

In a PCMH, primary care physicians guide patients and orchestrate all their care.
HCRS is working with IMPAQ International, LLC, a policy research firm, in conducting an evaluation of the Maryland Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot Program. Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) are practice arrangements in which the primary care physician or practice delivers, integrates or coordinates all the care that patients require, including specialist and hospital care. PCMHs have been promoted as a potential solution to many of the problems facing the American health care system (e.g., fast-rising costs, medical errors/declining quality of care, and lack of coordination of care). Nearly all States have implemented a Medicaid and/or private insurance demonstration involving PCMH, including Maryland, whose 3-year pilot began in 2011 with 53 primary care practices and about 200,000 patients. All the major insurance carriers and the Maryland Medicaid program are participating.  The study is being conducted under the auspices of the Maryland Health Care Commission.

 

Our job is to help IMPAQ answer the following questions about the PCMH Pilot Program:

(1) Did access to and the quality of care improve?

(2) Did patient, provider, and staff satisfaction increase?

(3) Have disparities in health been reduced?

(4) Has the utilization of costly services decreased?

(5) Are payer costs of care lower?

Answering these questions will involve gathering care outcomes and cost data along with information about patient, provider and staff perceptions during 2012 and again in 2014.