COVID-19 Latest Updates and Resources

COVID-19 Topic: Health Policy

Should practices offer antibody testing to employees?

In general, the EEOC has okayed mandatory COVID-19 testing but not antibody testing. However, even voluntary antibody testing raises a host of legal issues: (1) adequate…

Our practice hasn’t had a telehealth offering in the past. Is it possible to get something up & running ASAP?

Effective March 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights provided notice that during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency,…

What are the new rules on implementing telehealth into practices during this time?

Effective March 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) provided notice that, during the COVID-19 nationwide public health…

Does my policy cover telehealth?

Yes. Curi’s medical professional liability policy will cover telehealth visits for insured physicians during this declared National Emergency—extending, without conditions, for the later of either sixty…

What do I need to know about reimbursement for telehealth at this time?

CMS has announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel…

What other telehealth resources would be helpful to our practice?

Curi has created the following resources for its member practices: Telehealth: An Overview by Curi Telehealth Informed Consent Forms (English & Spanish) And, here are some…

Do you have recommended language that we could use in patient medical records when cancelling elective procedures?

Here’s our recommended context and language for patient medical records: “On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) viral disease to…

Should my practice cancel elective surgeries?

CMS has released a recommendation that all non-essential planned surgeries be limited during the pandemic. Their guidance is available here. Curi has also developing recommended language to include in…

What are the new requirements on prescribing controlled substances through telehealth?

Due to COVID-19, a nationwide public health emergency was declared on Jan. 31. As such, The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has relaxed rules previously in place…

Is there additional language that I should include in my medical record documentation when offering care by telehealth during this time?

We (and a cross section of our outside defense counsel) strongly recommend practices incorporate the following language into any applicable notes by copy and paste: “On…

What criteria related to telehealth still apply during this national emergency?

While in this expedited phase of telehealth, there are still some steps from a more comprehensive list of requirements that should be followed: Use Curi’s telemedicine…

Where can I find information about practicing telehealth in my state?

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) resource, “Telemedicine Policies Board by Board Overview,” is searchable by state and includes links to specific telehealth rules. The National…

Can we offer telehealth services in states where our physicians aren’t licensed?

Curi’s medical professional liability policy will cover telehealth visits for insured physicians during this declared National Emergency—extending, without conditions, for the later of either sixty (60)…

Provider Relief Fund Compliance Deadline Extended

HHS has added a 45-day extension to the deadline for providers receiving payments from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to accept the terms and conditions for those…

Curi Webinar Thursday Addresses Risk Management, Health Policy, and MPL Topics

The next installment in Curi’s COVID-19 webinar series, “Risk, Policy, and Professional Liability in a Pandemic,” will take place at noon on Thursday, May 21. Curi’s Chief Legal…

Georgia Executive Order Leaves Questions About Civil Immunity for Private Practice Physicians During the Pandemic

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp yesterday issued a broad-reaching executive order purporting to expand the definition of which healthcare providers are engaged in emergency management activity and…

Response Deadlines for Federal Financial Support Programs Extended

Deadlines have been extended for two federal programs created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that providers and practices can use for…

Pennsylvania Civil Immunity Executive Order

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf yesterday entered an executive order purporting to “provide civil immunity for healthcare providers” during the COVID-19 declared state of emergency. The extent…

Curi COVID-19 Webinar Thursday

Curi’s six-week series of webinars designed to help practices weather the COVID-19 crisis continues tomorrow, with Curi’s Sam Cohen and Ben Remke presenting “Keeping the Doors…

HHS OCR Issues Reminder About Media and Protected Health Information

The HHS Office of Civil Rights yesterday issued guidance for covered health providers reminding them that, even during the COVID-19 public health emergency, they are still…

Civil Immunity for North Carolina Healthcare Providers and Entities During Pandemic

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper today signed the “COVID-19 Recovery Act,” which provides immunity to all healthcare providers and healthcare entities providing care to any patient…

Curi Webinar on Practice Financing Options

Curi’s webinar series continues next Thursday, May 7, with “Keeping the Doors Open in a Pandemic: Practice Financing and Relief Funds.” Curi’s Senior Vice President of…

North Carolina, Virginia Allow Resumption of Non-Emergency Procedures

North Carolina today announced that hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers may resume elective surgeries that follow new guidance, effective today. In Virginia, non-emergency surgeries at hospitals and dental…

New CMS Waivers and Rules

CMS yesterday announced a number of new regulatory waivers and rule changes to provide flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. The actions include changes making it easier for beneficiaries…

Virginia Governor Signs Civil Immunity Executive Order

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam yesterday entered an executive order clarifying existing state law that healthcare providers and practices responding to a stated public health emergency—including COVID-19—are immune…

Responses Requested for Survey of North Carolina Practices

Curi, the North Carolina Medical Society, and the North Carolina Medical Group Management Association have developed a weekly COVID-19 survey of medical practices in North Carolina.

Provider Funding Support News

The general distribution application portal for the next round of $20 billion in funding from the federal CARES Act Provider Relief Fund is now live.

Provider Relief Fund Distributions

HHS has announced how it will allocate the remaining $70 billion from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund under the CARES Act. $20 billion will be…

Get Ready to Apply for the Paycheck Protection Program

We continue to urge practices to be ready to apply for federal Paycheck Protection Program funds likely coming available later this week as part of the evolving second-round…

MIPS 2019 Submission Deadline Approaching 

As a reminder, the 2019 submission deadline for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is on April 30—extended from the original date of March 31 due to the COVID-19…

HHS Opens CARES Act Payment Attestation Portal  

HHS has released a new website allowing providers who have received payments under the CARES Act to confirm receipt of the funds and agree to the program’s terms and conditions. The portal is available here. 

Virginia Law Protects Physicians Seeking Mental Health Support  

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a new law with implications for physicians managing stress and burnout during the COVID-19 health crisis. Under SB 120, physicians and other healthcare…

HHS Provides Clarification on CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

HHS has updated its website for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to clarify that not having treated a suspected or actual COVID-19 patient does not…

Georgia Issues Civil Liability Executive Order

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp yesterday entered an executive order that, among other things, extended civil immunity from suit during the declared pandemic to “healthcare institutions and…

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Interim Guidance on Face Mask Use

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced interim enforcement guidance permitting the extended use and reuse of disposable N-95 filtering facepiece respirators, as well as the…

OCR Flexibility on Business Associates’ Use of PHI

The HHS Office of Civil Rights has issued a notice saying that it will not impose penalties for violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule against covered…

New Jersey Civil Immunity Executive Order

New Jersey’s governor yesterday issued an executive order granting immunity from civil suits to clinicians providing healthcare services in support of the COVID-19 response during the…

Prescribing Flexibility for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has issued new guidance giving DEA-registered physicians the ability to prescribe buprenorphine over the telephone for patients with opioid use disorder. This guidance…

CMS Temporary Regulatory Waivers

CMS yesterday issued a number of temporary regulatory waivers to provide hospitals and other health care providers with flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency. The changes cover…

CMS Expands Support for Providers With Financial Challenges

CMS has released a fact sheet detailing how providers can quickly access funds through its Accelerated and Advance Payment Program. These funds may support practices and other entities…

Protections for Medical Volunteers in CARES Act

One provision of the CARES Act provides limited liability protection for doctors who volunteer across state lines during the pandemic—offering a boost for efforts to put providers where…

HIPAA Privacy Rule Guidance

The HHS Office of Civil Rights has published guidance clarifying that the HIPAA Privacy Rule does permit disclosure of patient COVID-19 information to law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders, and public health authorities without patient authorization.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Resources

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued two valuable documents relative to the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): an FAQ for employers and guidance on paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. In addition, the North Carolina Medical Group Management Association is hosting a free webinar about the implications of the FFCRA for practices on March 27.

State-Level Action on Preemptive Prescribing

Entities in multiple states are taking action against the preemptive prescription of medications for a potential future COVID-19 illness. The North Carolina Medical Board has published a message for all licensees reminding them of the risks of preemptive prescribing, and the Virginia Department of Health has published a recommendation against the practice.

North Carolina Provider Guidance

In North Carolina, the Department of Health and Human Services has released updated guidance for health care providers, including updates on changes in testing recommendations and standards for discontinuing isolation. The department also released a related document with updated outpatient triage and assessment guidance. In addition, the state Health Director has issued an order requiring physicians to report suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections causing death.

CMS Section 1135 Medicaid Waivers

CMS yesterday approved section 1135 Medicaid waivers for 11 states, including New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia. (Florida had a waiver approved on March 16.) These waivers cover issues such as provider enrollment, pre-admission screening and annual assessments for nursing facility residents, the provision of services in alternative (unlicensed) facilities, and prior authorization requirements.

Elective Surgeries

The US Surgeon General has urged hospitals to consider stopping elective surgeries during the crisis, and many states—including North Carolina—are following suit.

Quality Payment Program Reporting

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yesterday announced relaxed reporting requirements for the Quality Payment Program. The measure, which aims to support providers and practices struggling to fight COVID-19, extends the deadline for measure reporting and data submission.

Calls for Volunteer Health Workers

Many states across the country are sending out urgent calls for volunteer clinical, clinical support, and non-clinical health workers. Those wishing to volunteer in North Carolina may register to help here. We will continue to share information about other states’ volunteer efforts as it becomes available.

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