COVID-19 Latest Updates and Resources

COVID-19 Topic: Patient Management

Can we offer a drive-through flu clinic to administer flu shots?

Yes, you can offer a drive-through clinic; however, you need to follow the same process as your in-office vaccine administration inclusive of:  Verification of patient identity…

Should pediatric practices administer the flu vaccine to parents/guardians during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Ideally, parents of pediatric patients should receive the flu vaccination from a provider who treats adults. However, immunizing the parent in the pediatric office, especially during…

How can we reengage with patients?

Implementing a clear strategy to stay connected with patients in the midst of the pandemic will benefit both your patients as well as your practice.

What should we tell patients who say that masks cause problems such as lack of oxygen or too much carbon dioxide?

Prolonged wearing of face masks by healthy individuals have not been shown to cause increase in carbon dioxide or lack of oxygen according to information provided…

What does the Department of Justice (DOJ) say about individuals exempt from wearing a face mask?

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin advised the public that fraudulent cards and other documents bearing the Department of Justice seal are being distributed around the…

Has the Department of Justice (DOJ) shared any guidance stating that individuals cannot be required to wear a mask as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

No, the DOJ has not posted any guidance regarding face mask usage in relation to the ADA. The DOJ released the following statement denying issuance or…

Can physicians refuse to see patients who decline to wear a mask?

There are several factors to consider before making a general statement that anyone presenting without a mask will not be seen: First, medical staff should determine…

Is it ok to provide releases to patients who state they cannot tolerate a mask?

Yes. If you are the primary provider and the patient has a documented medical condition that makes it difficult to wear a mask, then it would…

Is it ok for pediatric practices to perform COVID-19 testing on their patients’ parents?

Yes, as long as you are limiting to only testing and not providing clinical advice. All providers need to understand if they ever cross over to…

How should we communicate the reopening of our practice to patients?

The time has finally come to announce the date your practice will reopen. As your practice ramps up for opening to full capacity, you will want…

How will we get back on track for scheduling patients?

Once a scheduling plan is developed, communicate this plan to all scheduling staff. The goal will be to efficiently schedule patients and maximize the provider’s availability….

What should we do when a patient arrives at our practice?

Once the patient arrives inside your practice facility, the following guidelines should be followed to prevent the spread of illness: Ask staff to stay home if…

How should practices communicate with established, chronic care patients who require regular maintenance (i.e., diagnostic testing, prescription management, recurring visits) to provide care management that ensures these patients are provided the care needed?

Develop a process to identify your established, chronic care patients and assign staff to review the list of patients to flag for necessary follow up. Begin…

What steps should be in place for patient arrival in order to prepare for the reopening of the practice?

Consider establishing Non-COVID Care (NCC) zones to screen all patients for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature checks. Require patients to complete Pre-screening COVID-19 Tool. Routinely screen…

Is there a waiver practices should use for COVID-19 diagnostic and serologic testing?

Curi has developed an informed consent form for COVID-19 testing, available here. This comprehensive document features information about both diagnostic and serologic (antibody) blood tests, including…

Once this national emergency has ended, how should our practice transition out-of-state patients who are currently being seen via telehealth?

Practices should create a procedure for handling these patients with the following recommendations: Determine whether the practice will continue with telehealth following the National Emergency, and…

What liability do practices face for not testing patients who have mild COVID-19 symptoms?

Providers should use their best clinical judgment to prioritize testing, referencing the CDC and local health departments for guidance. Some considerations for prioritizing testing are based…

How should we handle patients who are concerned they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 by someone in our practice?

Call the patient and have them relay their concerns. Respond to their voiced concerns in a reassuring way, without divulging names or any confidential information. Share…

How can I effectively communicate safety policies for my practice?

Curi has developed two flyers to provide clear instructions for patient and visitor safety for the practice website and in-office posting.  

Where can I find guidance about suspected COVID-19 triage, assessment, and testing?

Curi has developed a Patient Workflow Chart and Patient Test Screening Tool for use throughout your practice as it relates to COVID-19. The CDC also has many resources to provide guidance on…

What are the practice’s responsibilities if we find out a patient or employee tests positive?

If an employee (including physicians) or patient tests positive for COVID-19, you need to first determine the level of exposure. Potential exposure occurs two days prior…

What liability does our organization face as it relates to our staff by keeping our practice open for patients during this time?

The liability comes if you are not providing employees with what they need to safely provide care while following CDC and OSHA guidelines for managing potentially…

We do not have enough N-95 masks. What do we do?

N-95 mask are not recommended unless you are going to have prolonged exposure and/or are performing procedures that promotes aerosolization of sputum. The first step is…

What are the risks and concerns we need to keep in mind if we transition to “emergency-only” appointments?

Be sure your providers are involved in the decision and the process for triaging which patient visits can be canceled and postponed to a later date…

Is it ok to provide patients with a work notice to not return to work due to a compromised condition or status of their work environment?

We would recommend that you focus attention on patients with a compromised immune issue. Consider using the suggested sample notices linked below or one similar. In…

Does my policy cover patient claims involving COVID-19?

Yes. Curi has no plans to modify or restrict current coverage as it relates to COVID-19 patient claims. As always, coverage is subject to your policy’s…

If patients want to know how many COVID-19 cases our practice has had, what can we share with them? What do we tell our patients who don’t want to come to the office?

Remind the patient that the practice’s policy is not to release information related to PHI. Focus on the steps the practice is undertaking to keep patients…

How do we document consent if we have implemented a policy of not sharing pens and not using iPads to sign?

You could request the patient to use their pen, but if concerned about contaminating work spaces and/or handling the paper, then document verbal consent in the…

How do we obtain signatures for patients who are not coming in to the office?

When the patient has a telemedicine visit, send the consent to the patient electronically—either through the patient portal or email. The patient must send back an…

What is the difference between self-monitoring, quarantine, and isolation?

Self-monitoring is for those that may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice…

If patients present to our practice with a suspected COVID-19 infection, we are asking them to return to their cars and call our office from their cell phones. Is this good practice?

Yes. This is a good practice. Also, consider being proactive by calling ahead and screening prior to the appointment. If a patient shows up in your…

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…

If we are providing appropriate PPE, following CDC guidelines, and using infection-control measures, what liability does our organization face as it relates to our staff by keeping our practice open for patients?

The liability comes when not providing what employees need to meet CDC and OSHA guidelines for managing potentially infectious patients. This includes appropriate use of PPE…

We have locked up our extra supplies (including hand sanitizer and PPE) as patients have been taking them. Is this an acceptable practice?

This is an acceptable practice, provided you are keeping hand sanitizer and masks available for those who need them—including patients who screen positive for COVID-19 and…

How are other practices doing testing and who should collect the specimen?

One of our family practice physicians shared her COVID-19 Toolkit, which includes testing protocols. It is an individual choice of the practice as to who will…

Are there any concerns practices need to be aware of related to testing patients for COVID-19?

Yes, patients need to understand what COVID-19 testing is for and what to do if they test positive. Here are some steps practices can follow: Ask…

Is there a form we are supposed to complete when testing patients for COVID-19?

At the time of testing, it is recommended that physicians/practices complete this CDC form, which includes basic information about the individual. There is not clear direction…

As more physicians and practices are able to offer COVID-19 testing, how do I know when to test my patients?

Clinicians should continue to work with their local and state health departments to coordinate testing through public health laboratories. In addition, COVID-19 diagnostic testing, authorized by…

Should we leave COVID-19 testing to the hospitals and health departments?

This is a business decision, but the better practices are equipped to handle these cases and manage their own patients, the better for everyone. The health…

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 is best practice for patient self-isolation?

To help educate patients about how to effectively self-isolate and disinfect their homes, Curi has developed a home care instruction guide and an environmental cleaning for…

Are there any preventative treatments for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). There are no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…

Who needs personal protective equipment (PPE)?

As communities across the U.S. take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting close contact, people are facing new challenges and questions about how…

Is our current position (P&P) correct?

Example policy and procedure: “All staff and providers are to adhere to our current PPE and Infection control requirements. Everyone should be diligent about handwashing and…

Immunizing Parents in the Pediatric Office Setting

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Limited Relationship Consent Form

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Office Response to Patient Concerns with Safety Guidelines Letter Template

Click here to download an editable template letter that addresses patient concerns with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Sample Work Notices

This document includes sample work notices for patients who are at high risk for severe illness with COVID-19, have medical issues that prohibit wearing a mask,…

WEBINAR: Practice Management During a Pandemic: Best Practices and Resources

  Click here to download a PDF of the slide deck.

WEBINAR: Risk, Policy, and Professional Liability in a Pandemic

Click here to download a PDF version of the presentation.

In-Office Visit During COVID-19 Patient Authorization and Consent Form

Use this consent form for all in-office visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surgery During COVID-19 Patient Authorization and Consent Form

Use this consent form for surgical visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Testing Informed Consent Form

Curi has developed an informed consent form for COVID-19 testing. This comprehensive document features information about both diagnostic and serologic (antibody) blood tests, including who should be tested, how to interpret test results, and the overall objectives of serology testing in the U.S.

Radiology Visit During COVID-19 Patient Authorization and Consent Form

Use this consent form for all radiology visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HSA Eligible Expenses Expanded

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
(CARES Act) was signed into law. In addition to providing direct financial
assistance to Americans, the CARES Act repeals the Medicine Cabinet Tax
provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), expanding the list of qualifying
expenses that can be purchased with health savings accounts (HSAs).

Getting Back to Business—A Roadmap to Reopening Your Practice

This document provides guidance for practices preparing to resume or increase operations after slowing down due to COVID-19. Elements include patient and staff communication, infection prevention, and letter templates for practices to adapt and use.

Patient Notice of COVID-19 Exposure Editable Letter Template

Editable letter template to inform patients of COVID-19 exposure available to download in word doc format.

Script to Inform Patients of COVID-19 Exposure

Curi has developed a script for physicians and practice staff to use when informing patients that they have been exposed to COVID-19

WEBINAR: COVID-19 Response & Preparedness Plan—A Practice Perspective

Curi member Dr. Joanne Fruth provides a practical overview of the COVID-19 pandemic and offers insight on how to manage patients through current screening methods, testing, telehealth options, and safety precautions.

Individual and Family Pandemic Planning Checklist

Practices can share this resource with patients to ensure they understand both the magnitude of what can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions they can take to help lessen the impact.

Medical Offices & Clinics Pandemic Planning Checklist

Planning for a pandemic is critical for ensuring a sustainable healthcare response. This resource, primarily for medical offices and ambulatory clinics, was created using checklists developed by HHS and the CDC.

Business Planning Pandemic Checklist

Healthcare organizations will play a vital role in protecting employees’ health and safety as well as limiting the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis in our communities. This checklist identifies important activities large businesses can do to prepare.

Disaster Planning for the Medical Office

When disaster strikes, the best protection is having a plan. Curi’s Disaster Planning Overview for the Medical Office resource is a helpful tool to help practices prepare for the current and impending challenges with COVID-19.

State-Level Action on Preemptive Prescribing

Information regarding state action against pre-emptive prescriptions for COVID-19.

Special Coding Advice From AMA

The AMA offers guidance on applying the optimal coding practices during the COVID-19 crisis.

Editable Flyers for Practices: Patient and Visitor Safety Information

These editable flyers provide necessary safety information for patients and visitors to be posted both in-office and on the practice website.

NC DHHS Interim Guidance for Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) While Caring for Patients With Coronavirus

This guidance from NC DHHS was produced following the CDC’s updated PPE recommendations on March 10, 2020.

NC DHHS Guidance Around Discontinuation of Home Isolation, Patient Triage & Assessment, and Persons Under Investigation

NC DHHS has developed recommendations for practices managing patients in these key scenarios.

CDC – What to Do if You Are Sick With COVID-19

The CDC has developed a one-sheet guide regarding the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus.

Curi’s Environmental Cleaning for Non-Healthcare Settings Guide

This document outlines environmental cleaning practices in non-healthcare settings after exposure to patients who are being tested for or who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection.

Curi’s Home Care Instruction Guide

Patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 may have the ability to obtain care at home. This document provides clear recommendations to evaluate the appropriateness of home care and guidance for patients on how to properly care for themselves and loved ones.

Curi’s Patient Test Screening Tool

Curi created a patient assessment tool to help physicians and practice staff quickly identify whether or not patients meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing.

Curi’s Patient Workflow Process for COVID-19

Curi’s patient workflow chart is designed help physicians and practice staff triage, screen, and test patients using clearly-defined processes.

Coronavirus Print Resources from the CDC

The CDC has developed multiple printable documents and flyers regarding COVID-19 education and safety for staff and patients.

Telemedicine Session Informed Consent Forms

Consent forms are in Microsoft Word to allow customization for your practice. Telemedicine Session Consent Form (English) Telemedicine Session Consent Form (Spanish)

Specialty-Specific Telehealth Toolkits

Several specialty organizations have developed comprehensive toolkits and resources around telehealth that should be helpful for practices during this time and in the future.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This is the official CDC website

National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers Resources

The Consortium has a dedicated telehealth toolkit for the COVID-19 pandemic along with a host of valuable resources on their website for practices.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Telehealth Resources

CMS has both evergreen and COVID-19-specific resources that should be helpful for providers and practices as they address the pandemic in their communities.

Telehealth: An Overview by Curi

Curi recognizes that many of our members are interested in providing care to patients via telehealth. We developed this document to provide some key information needed to get started.

Additional States Release COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

New Jersey and New York have released contact tracing apps that residents can install on their mobile phones, similar to the apps from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Curi Updates Drive-Through Flu Clinic FAQs to Include Workflow for Offering Shots

Curi has added Avance Care’s COVID-19 Toolkit for Independent Primary Care Providers, which includes workflow processes for curbside flu shots, to our FAQs about drive-through flu clinics.

States Release COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

Multiple states in Curi’s core geographic footprint have recently released contact tracing apps that residents can install on their mobile phones. To learn more about the…

FDA Publishes COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Performance Data

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released comparative performance data for some authorized COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests. This move will support physicians and practices in…

Free PPE Available to Independent Practices in North Carolina

The North Carolina Medical Society is offering free personal protective equipment for independent practices. The available PPE includes N95 masks, KN95 masks, procedure masks, gowns, gloves,…

Pennsylvania Bill Seeks Liability Protections for Physicians Treating COVID-19 Patients

A bill in the Pennsylvania legislature would protect healthcare providers from liability while treating or providing testing to COVID-19 patients (absent gross negligence, recklessness, or misconduct)….

Documentation and Coding Updates

The American Medical Association has published new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes that deal with COVID-19. One is related to performing safety protocols, and another pertains to laboratory…

Curi Publishes New Resources on Mask Usage

Curi has updated our patient management FAQs to include new guidance on the use of masks and face coverings during in-office visits, education for patients on the importance…

Curi Outlines Guidance for Reengaging With Patients

Curi has provided new guidance for keeping patients engaged and cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more about how to stay connected with patients…

HHS OCR Clarifies That Practices May Contact Former COVID-19 Patients for Antibody Donation Under HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HHS Office of Civil Rights today issued guidance making clear that providers are permitted under the HIPAA Privacy Rule to contact their patients who have…

Curi Adds New Frequently Asked Questions to COVID-19 Resource Center

The Curi team has added two new FAQs to our COVID-19 Practice Command Center: “Is it ok for pediatric practices to perform COVID-19 testing on their patients’…

Curi Offers Sample Work Notice Templates

Curi has released templates practices can use to notify stakeholders about patients who are at high risk for severe illness with COVID-19, have medical issues that…

Curi Practice Management Webinar Tomorrow

The next installment in Curi’s COVID-19 webinar series, “Practice Management During a Pandemic: Best Practices and Resources,” will take place at noon ET tomorrow, Thursday, May…

Curi Practice Management Webinar Next Thursday

The next installment in Curi’s COVID-19 webinar series, “Practice Management During a Pandemic: Best Practices and Resources,” will take place at noon ET on Thursday, May…

New Curi Resources

Two new resources created by Curi are now available. The first is an updated FAQ on what a practice should do if a physician or employee tests positive…

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…

Curi Releases “Getting Back to Business” Toolkit

Curi today released our “Getting Back to Business” toolkit, a resource offering guidance to practices preparing to resume or increase operations after slowing down due to…

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.

New Consent Forms

The Curi team has created two new consent forms for practices to use during the COVID-19 health emergency: one for in-office visits and another for surgeries. Both of these…

NIH Develops Treatment Guidelines

An expert panel of physicians, statisticians, and others convened by the National Institutes of Health has developed COVID-19 treatment guidelines for healthcare providers. The guidelines, which will evolve as more…

ACS Guidance for Resuming Elective Surgeries  

In addition to the guidance on resuming non-emergent care we shared yesterday from CMS and the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American College of Surgeons has released a surgical resource document for facilities…

Emerging Guidelines for Resuming Care

As the medical community looks ahead to when pandemic restrictions begin to lift, government entities and other organizations are starting to offer recommendations for how to…

Updated Curi Tools for Practices With COVID-19-Exposed Employees

Curi has updated our decision tree for practices with employees exposed to COVID-19, to reflect new CDC guidelines. We have also added new resources for notifying…

FBI Provides Tips for Avoiding Video-Teleconference “Hijacking”

With increasing numbers of providers using video-teleconferencing applications such as Zoom to meet with patients, a recent article from the FBI offers guidance on how to…

ACS Guidelines for Triaging Elective Surgeries

The American College of Surgeons has released triage guidelines for elective surgeries.

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…

Special Coding Advice from AMA

A new resource from the AMA offers guidance on applying the optimal coding practices during the COVID-19 crisis.

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.

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