WACO, TX — A new training program offered by Texas State Technical College aims to help medical professionals encountering huge changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 11-hour online course focuses primarily on telehealth and COVID-19, with a special emphasis on how medical offices can code, bill, and provide cybersecurity as virtual visits become a must for many doctors.
"For instance, one class may discuss how COVID-19 impacts HIPPA. It’s all new," said Cindy Brunett, who's helping oversee the program at campuses across the state.
She said there's a growing demand, especially in smaller offices, for staff to know the do's and don'ts when it comes to virtual visits during the time of coronavirus.
“When you go see a doctor, you get diagnosed and get treated. When you bill insurance, there are different codes. I treated a patient, here’s a code, here’s the recommendation to treat you," said Brunett. "A lot of that wasn't really clear with telehealth."
She says medical employees who take the training can be eligible for up to $2,000 in financial assistance to pay for the courses thanks to dollars provided by the Texas Workforce Commission.
“In the Fort Bend area and the Waco area, we’re running applications right now," said Brunett.
Waco Dr. Bill McCunniff says when COVID-19 hit in March, telehealth and virtual doctor’s visits became the new normal. None of this staff has taken the TSTC training, but he says medical staffs across the state are adapting to an entirely new environment.
“I remember our office manager working through how to even schedule [virtual visits because] we’ve seen people in person for a long, long time,” said Dr. McCunniff. “There’s no question it’s a team effort, something we’re all learning and adapting to.”