PEHTI Bulletin – July 2013

Dear PEHTI colleagues, Thank you for your partnership with PEHTI. Over the past 4 months since March 2013, the PA Department of Health (PA DOH) contract and collaborative framework with the Penn State College of Medicine (PSCOM) has been undergoing revisions which unfortunately impacted project operations. PEHTI is emerging from the challenging transition with even greater dedication to the initiative’s purpose which guides the continuing collaboration between PA DOH and PSCOM. Thank you for your patience. In an effort to mitigate the impact of the above-referenced  transition and to ensure that the initiative emerges from the transition even stronger, an integrated PA DOH – PSCOM collaboration team has been established to enable the project to more closely coordinate major technical improvements that are required of PA DOH as a condition of continued CDC funding. To begin this process, we sent PEHTI sites a series of three major  communications since the all-sites webinar invitation of Februry 8, 2013 [to brief PEHTI sites on the ongoing deployment of the Critical Phase Interventions (CPI) exchange, protocols and point-of-care software, which will be used to facilitate a major  improvement of the tracking of referrals to  prevention/care for newly-diagnosed persons.]
*More recently, an all-sites email was sent on June 7, 2013 which is summarized along with other developments in this bimonthly bulletin (published every 2 months). The purpose of the bulletin is to advance closer engagement with PEHTI sites on major developments referenced above (which will also be covered in a series of  upcoming bimonthly webinars to be announced).
Below is a list of what’s covered in this month’s Bulletin:
In this issue ….
1. Updated PEHTI Contact Info, New Web Form and Project Team
2. Change of Data Submission Methods
3. Request for: a) Updates of PEHTI Site Point-of-Contact, and b) Site Scale-Up Pre-Qualification Info (which serves as a letter of interest in scale-up to true opt-out HIV screening)
4. USPSTF Grade A Recommendations for Opt-out Screening in Healthcare Settings
5. Imperative for Scale-up to True Opt-Out Screening Using EHPS Protocols
6. Health Insurance Billing Codes and Related Issues
7. New Project Sites Map
8. Featured Analyses/Studies of Relevance
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1. Updated PEHTI Contact Info, New Web Form and Project Team.
PLEASE NOTE that the PEHTI contact information has changed as reflected on the web site. The project team is also evolving with changing technical support priorities!
-NEW PEHTI CONTACT INFO & WEB FORM: For all communications with PEHTI, including testing supplies and any other help requests,  please  complete and submit your requests/communications with PEHTI through this web form. This facilitates proper documentation and follow-up of requests in the order in which they are received or by appropriate priority, and enables the project team to track and improve the quality and timeliness of technical support.
*PLEASE NOTE: To ensure that we can respond to your requests in a timely manner, please discontinue sending emails to Mary-Catherine Hess, Erica Carpenter or Staff of Orasure Technologies (unless your site is doing direct purchases of Orasure supplies, PEHTI-procured Orasure testing supplies must be ordered through PEHTI by submitting a request through the web form). Dr. Lekhena Sros is on leave, she will return in  Septermber 2013.
*IF YOU HAVE SUBMITTED REQUESTS TO PEHTI THAT ARE PENDING FULFILMENT: For sites which have responded to our recent communications and/or submitted requests for various support items, we have sent supplies and are still in the process of sending further responses to ourstanding requests. If you have not received any feedback by August 2, 2013, please resubmit your request through the web form.
-PEHTI PROJECT TEAM: The project team is evolving as implementation matures; accordingly, the focus/priorities and project capacity are transitioning to technical support for: a) scale-up of site operations to truly routine opt-out HIV screening through EHPS protocols including more secure data submission, b) USPSTF grade A recommendations on opt-out screening (& the implications for insurance reimbursement/billing), and c) Critical Phase Interventions (CPI) focus areas of referral tracking, and linkage to and retention in prevention/care.
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2. Change of Data Submission Methods
-As announced in our June 2013 email communications to all sites, PEHTI is in the process of rolling out new requirements for data submission:
-Transitioning from data capture and submission using flash drives to a new method of direct data capture through PEHTI-provided point-of-care software and encrypted submission to a more secure PA Dept of Health site-specific location;
-The change in data submission methods is being rolled out in conjunction with a requirement for use of PEHTI-provided point-of-care software for immediate submission of reactive test results to facilitate real-time tracking of referrals to prevention/care (non-reactive/negative test results remain on your system in the new submission software and are still submitted once a month);
* NEXT STEPS ON THIS ISSUE:
-We are in the process of following up with your respective sites to effect this transition;
-In the meantime, please continue to collect and store data using the current methods for data capture for submission to PA DOH that you have been using  (including data for the past couple of months) until your site is provided with a new flash drive (to replace a previous recalled batch) or a web-link to download PEHTI-provided point-of-care software to be used;
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3. Request for: a) Updates of PEHTI Site Point-of-Contact, and b) Site Scale-Up Pre-Qualification Info (which serves as a letter of interest in scale-up to true opt-out HIV screening):
-Due to difficulties reaching some sites, changes in contact persons and patient attendance at various clinics, and the need to scale-up to true opt-out testing, our most recent June 2013 communications to all sites requested completion and submission of the continuing site pre-qualification form (if not already done) for the purpose of obtaining information on current point-of-contact for day-to-day communication and existing site readiness/ability to scale-up to true opt-out screening (incl. use of EHPS protocols to continue as a PEHTI level 1-stage 2 continuing implementation partner);
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4. USPSTF Grade A Recommendations for Opt-out Screening in Healthcare Settings
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Please check the PEHTI web site for recent announcement of a ‘USPSTF Grade A Recommendation for Opt-Out Testing in Healthcare Settings
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5. Imperative for Scale-up to True Opt-Out Screening Using EHPS Protocols:
-Due to scale-up difficulties for some sites/need to scale-up to true opt-out testing, our most recent June 2013 email communications to all sites requested completion and submission of the attached continuing site pre-qualification form for the purpose of obtaining information on existing site readiness/ability to scale-up to true opt-out screening (i.e. continue as a PEHTI level 1-stage 2 continuing implementation partner);
* NEXT STEPS:
-SCALE-UP TO TRUE OPT-OUT SCREENING THROUGH USE OF EHPS PROTOCOLS: We will be continuing to work with sites on this issue including providing technical support for adaptation of a generic site workplan towards a custom site-specific workplan for achieving bechmarks for opt-out screening in healthcare settings;
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6. Insurance Billing Coding Guidance and Related Issues
-Please check the PEHTI web site for the latest information on the recent announcement of a ‘USPSTF Grade A Recommendation for Opt-Out Testing in Healthcare Settings‘ (see quick links) and PEHTI guidance and technical support on health insurance coverage and/or reimbursement/billing (if fee-for-service) for routine HIV screening in healthcare settings, where applicable (i.e. incl. managed care documentation of fulfillment of standard-of-care for preventive services and billing codes for services provided under fee-for-service health insurance).
* NEXT STEPS ON THIS ISSUE:
-We will be working with sites on this issue including a workplan towards achieving bechmarks for billing;
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7. New Map of Project Sites:
-A new map of existing project sites has been posted on the PEHTI web site. We thank all PEHTI sites for your enthusiasm and collective effort which continues to make PEHTI grow!!
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8. Featured Analyses/Studies of Relevance:
-Presentations of PEHTI analyses will be posted at this section of the project web site
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