HHS has Announced $20 Billion in New Phase 3 Provider Relief Funding
Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, physicians who have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding. For eligible physicians, the new Phase 3 General Distribution is designed to balance an equitable payment of 2 percent of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply. The application period is from October 5, 2020 – November 6, 2020 but you are encouraged to apply as early as possible. For additional information on the application process and eligibility requirements, please click the link below.
New Resource from IDSA and CDC: Call Center for Clinical Management Support
The CDC has partnered with the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) to provide direct support to clinicians who have questions about the clinical management of their patients with COVID-19. Calls from clinicians will be triaged by CDC to a group of IDSA volunteer clinicians for peer-to-peer support. To access this support, you may call the main CDC information line at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or to submit your question in writing, go to www.cdc.gov/cdc-info and click on Contact Form.
COVIDWISE – Mobile App to Fight against the spread of COVID-19
The Virginia Department of Health recently launched COVIDWISE, a mobile app that can notify people of exposure to someone with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. Use of the app, designed to help contain the spread of the virus as public activity increases, is voluntary and would require that individuals download the software on their phones, activate notifications and self-report a positive COVID-19 test.
ABFM COVID-19 Self Directed Clinical Pilot
The new COVID-19 Self-Directed Clinical Pilot allows Diplomates to direct a custom rapid cycle quality improvement effort, regardless of whether they provide continuing care. This activity provides a mechanism for meeting the Performance Improvement (PI) requirement by telling ABFM about the unprecedented and rapid changes that you had to make in the ways that you deliver care, regardless of practice type or scope. This PI can address many different dimensions of care—not just clinical quality measures but process effectiveness and efficiency, patient satisfaction, safety and the other characteristics that the practice has identified. This is a great opportunity to receive credit for changes you have already made or are making to your practice in response to COVID-19.
Financial Relief Resources
On July 6, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) clarified that for-profit health care clinicians must pay taxes on any grant payments received from the Provider Relief Fund. You can find details on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act here.
Medicare to Pay Parity for Telephonic E/M Visits
On April 30, CMS released an interim final rule making additional policy changes in response to COVID-19. Among several changes, CMS is increasing reimbursement for the telephonic E/M visits (CPT codes 99441-99443) to the same rate as regular, in-office E/M visits (99212-99214). This would increase payments for these services from a range of approximately $14-$41 to about $46-$110. The payments are retroactive to March 1, 2020. This will enable you to better care for their patients, especially elderly patients with chronic conditions and patients in rural communities who may not have access to audio-visual technology or high-speed internet.
HHS Extends Until May 24 the Deadline for Provider Relief Fund Payments – On May 7, HHS announced an extension of the deadline for health care providers to attest to receipt of payments from the Provider Relief Fund and accept the terms and conditions. Providers will now have 45 days, increased from 30 days, from the date they receive a payment to attest and accept the terms or return the funds. With the extension, not returning the payment within 45 days of receipt of payment will be viewed as acceptance of the terms.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun the distribution of an additional $20 billion of the $50 billion general distribution to Medicare facilities and providers impacted by COVID-19, augmenting the $30 billion that was allocated earlier this month. In order to receive payment, providers eligible for the general distribution must submit required revenue information for verification and must attest to the terms and conditions of this additional distribution. The portal for submitting this information is open linked from hhs.gov/providerrelief.
AAFP’s Financial Relief Resources – This includes information on the CARES Act, SBA Loans and CMS’ Accelerated/Advanced Payments.
Paycheck Protection Program – PPP Resumes April 27, 2020 – The SBA will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am EDT. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Applications accepted beginning April 3, 2020 and will be available through June 30, 2020. Consult your local banker/lender as to whether they participate.
CMS Reevaluates Accelerated Payment Program and Suspends Advance Payment Program – On April 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. The agency made this announcement following the successful payment of over $100 billion to health care providers and suppliers through these programs and in light of the $175 billion recently appropriated for health care provider relief payments. Funding will continue to be available to hospitals and other health care providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response primarily from the Provider Relief Fund. Click here for an updated Fact Sheet.
US Chamber of Commerce – Coronavirus Emergency Loans Guide and Checklist for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
- October 2 COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Intent
- September 14 COVID-19 Update
- August 7 COVID-19 Update
- July 13 COVID-19 Update
- May 15 COVID-19 Update
- VDH Video: Informing Patient of COVID-19 Test Results
- VDH Video: Patient Self-Collecting Nasal Swab for COVID-19
- Testing Resources
- May 7 COVID-19 Update – VDH Issues Guidance Related to COVID Testing
- May 4 Updated Testing Guidelines
- April 20 COVID-19 Update
- April 6 COVID-19 Update
- What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
- AAFP’s Daily Updates on COVID-19
- Weekly COVID Virtual Town Hall Meetings – Wednesdays 8:00 p.m. EST
- How to Begin Telehealth Visits
- Resources for Your Patients
- COVID-19 AAFP Member Community Board – Join the AAFP’s community board on COVID- 19 to learn and share among your family physician peers. You will have the option to determine the delivery method that works best for you i.e. real time, daily, plain text, etc.
- Checklist to Prepare Physician Offices for COVID-19 – Resources from the Academy include a new checklist to prepare physician offices for COVID-19 that offers sections focused on office preparedness, triage and patient flow systems, referral or transfer of patients, proper waste disposal, and required equipment/supplies.
- New Telehealth Rules and Procedure Codes for Testing
- COVID-19 – A Physician Interview
- (May 7th) Telehealth Video: Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services – CMS updated a video that answers common questions about the expanded Medicare telehealth services benefit during the COVID-19 public health emergency. New information includes how CMS adds services to the list of telehealth services, additional practitioners that can provide telehealth services, and the distant site services that Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) can provide. Further, the video includes information about audio-only telehealth services, telehealth services that hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies can provide, along with how to correctly bill for telehealth services.
- (April 30th) CMS Coronavirus Waivers and Flexibilities
- (April 20th) Medicare Provider Relief Fund – The Medicare Provider Relief Fund attestation portal is now available for all organizations that have received the HHS CARES Act stimulus grant. In addition, the Terms and Conditions have been amended. Practices have 30 days to sign this documentation after receiving the funds in their bank account.
- (April 10th) COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing
- (April 10th) CMS Published Guidance to all Medicare Advantage, Cost, PACE, and Demonstration Organizations on the applicability of diagnoses from telehealth services for risk adjustment.
- (April 7th) CMS Dear Clinician Letter
- Provider Telehealth Toolkit
- Guidance to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Organizations
- Expanded Medicare Telehealth Coverage
- Coverage and Payment Related to COVID-19 Medicare
- Frequently Asked Questions to Ensure Individuals, Issuers and States have Clear Information on Coverage Benefits for COVID-19
Working with the Department of Medicaid Assistance Services, Governor Northam is increasing access to health care for Virginia’s 1.5 million Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents. These actions include:
- Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.
- Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
- Permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
- Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
- Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.
Virginia Volunteer Health System (VVHS)