April 2020 Newsletter Print

President's Message

Dear Colleagues,

It feels like a choose your adventure story that has gone terribly awry and you want to trace your steps back to that last dog-eared page before you made your choice that lead to this story line (for those who know what I'm talking about - admit it - you know you did that too).

Nevertheless, this is the situation we find ourselves in. I have some trepidation in calling nurses and our fellow health care workers "heroes" because it implies that we are removed from the humanity of it all. That we are immune from getting sick, from being stressed, from worrying about our own families and how they will manage and all the other things that comprise our daily lives. 

But we are nurses. We band together to make it through the day. We work with the team (and it is a big team) of doctors, nurses, NPs, PAs, pharmacists, radiology techs, CNAs, central supply techs, food service, secretaries and everyone else to take care of our patients and our communities. 

This is but a brief episode in the show called life - and we will be made stronger because of it.

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HANP Board Nominations: Treasurer & President-Elect Only

We are looking for our new leaders!
Call to nominations are going on right now!
Positions open are: Treasurer and President-Elect
CLICK HERE to submit a nomination by April 29th.

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Upcoming Events

MAY MONTHLY MEETING - VIRTUAL

May meeting will be held online via Zoom on Wed., May 13th, 7 – 8pm. We have invited Linda Yazdanshenas from the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program. Continuing Education credit application pending. CLICK HERE to register.

10th Annual Conference and 25th Anniversary Party

Our anniversary party and annual conference is going to be a combined event. 
Final contracts pending but dates proposed likely will be: 10/23 and 10/24
Save the dates!

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HANP Scholarships

Spring 2020 award season is OPEN. Please submit your scholarship applications by May 15th. Winners will be announced in June. See below for details:

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COVID-19 News

Telemedicine in the time of COVID-19

Appropriate physical distancing and respiratory etiquette continues to be a mainstay in reducing viral transmission patterns and with the stay-at-home orders, telemedicine has seen an abrupt rise in utilization. Here are some resources below:

-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received funding as part of the recently passed CARES Act and is being utilized to establish the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. It provides funding to eligible health care providers for telemedicine equipment/services. See website.
https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program 

 -Billing and Coding for Telemedicine
During the April Monthly Meeting, there was a discussion regarding Billing for Telemedicine services. Here are some information that was brought up:
https://www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/coding_factsheet_telemedicine.pdf   
https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/downloads/TelehealthSrvcsfctsht.pdf  

COVID-19 Resources

There is a plethora of information pages in the interwebs. Listed below are from our state and federal NP organizations
https://www.texasnp.org/news/news.asp?id=492219 
https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/advocacy-resource/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-policy-updates?utm_source=Real_Magnet&utm_medium=GAU&utm_content=4-13&utm_campaign=GAF_COVIDpolicy 

Other Guidance:
Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM):  https://www.sccm.org/SurvivingSepsisCampaign/Guidelines/COVID-19

Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)
https://www.idsociety.org/practice-guideline/covid-19-guideline-treatment-and-management/ 
published 4/11/2020 - an interesting read and has guidance regarding pharmacological options

Scope of Practice and Emergency Situations

The Texas Board of Nursing has APRN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Emergency Situations. Please take a moment to review for your own reference.
https://www.bon.texas.gov/FAQsRelatingtoNursingPracticeinDisasterAreas.asp#b1 
As before COVID-19, you are responsible for knowing your personal scope of practice.

Economic Impact

During the Monthly meeting, there were self-reports of hours being significantly reduced or employees being furloughed. There were also multiple facebook groups comprised of nurses and nurse practitioner that echo similar situations especially in practices that have outpatient, elective cases. 

Hospital systems have been bolstering their staffing by hiring for their labor pools but predominantly applicable to bedside RNs. 

Another aspect that could be a delay in onboarding as a provider is hospital credentialing - the process of which varies for each institution. Reasonable to surmise that if you currently have a job, now is not the time to switch as onboarding processes have been disrupted/reprioritized. If you are a new NP graduate, it will take a while before cost centers restabilize and hiring/onboarding find the new normal.

TNP has a page specific to COVID-19: https://www.texasnp.org/page/Job_Covid_19
They are also waiving fees related to posting a job. If you have job leads, please direct them to TNP. 

There is a fund for Nurses who have been infected, caring for a family member with COVID-19 or are under employer-mandated quarantine. http://pages.nurseshouse.org/apply-for-help

Texas Nurse Practitioners Foundation is now accepting donations. The Foundation will be accepting applications for grants to help NPs and their immediate families living in the same household who have contracted COVID-19. Application process will begin April 21st and grants to be awarded after May 1.
If you are able, please donate: https://www.texasnp.org/donations/

If you have specific challenges or wins related to COVID-19, we want to know. Please email your story at [email protected]

Legal Assistance for Estate Planning from Atty. Joaquin Perez

Like emergencies, the best time to plan for one is long before it happens. If you're like me, I procrastinated for a while before doing an integral part of normal estate planning (I wish I had the rolling bucolic estates that the word inspires, but nevertheless...). My husband and I also formalized our Advanced Directives - the biggest kindness you can do for your family is to make your wishes for your medical care known ahead of time. 

Thank you to Heather Perez, MSN, FNP whose husband has reached out to offer his help and services to our membership. See below:

TO: All Houston Area Nurse Practitioners and Other Medical Personnel
FROM: Joaquin R. Perez, Attorney at Law
RE: Estate Planning Services For the Medical Community

Besides being an attorney, I am also the proud husband of a family nurse practitioner and father of a college student who is about to begin nursing school. As you may remember, this past winter my law firm sponsored the Houston Area Nurse Practitioner’s happy hour at the Memorial City Westin Hotel.  I enjoyed meeting with many of you to not only discuss the estate planning and legal services that I offer, but to also have fun and make a few new friends in the medical community during that festive occasion.  

Of course, we are now in the midst of a very serious public health crisis that threatens each and every one of us, but none more so than all of the hard working medical providers who are risking their own lives to take care of ours. Rest assured that I remain committed to providing you, your family and friends with all necessary wills, powers of attorney and other estate planning services, and to immediately respond to any legal inquiries that you may have during this difficult time.  My staff and I are able to assist you in a safe manner and in accordance with the CDC recommendations by utilizing social distancing through separate office locations and video conferencing. 

Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication, I would be happy to serve you with the same passion that you are now serving everyone else.    

Joaquin R. Perez
Attorney at Law

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Closing

As always, thank you for your efforts and the work that each and everyone of you do for our patients and community. 

Signing off,
Mari Galang

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