COVID-19 Physician Updates
BREAKING: CMS ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF TELEHEALTH WITH 1135 WAIVER
CMS, under this new waiver, states that Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth across the country and including in patients' places of residence starting March 6, 2020. A range of providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, will be able to offer telehealth to their patients. Additionally, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs. See the CMS release for complete details.
AAFP REQUESTS MEETING WITH VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE AND COVID-19 TASK FORCE
"The AAFP, on behalf of our 134,600 members, formally requests a direct meeting with you (Vice President Mike Pence) and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to share concerns we are hearing from our members and discuss the immediate and necessary steps that should be taken to inform, equip and empower family physicians as they prepare to care for thousands of patients impacted by COVID-19 in the coming days," the letter added.
The Academy expects to participate in such a meeting with the task force on March 18.
AAFP CALLS ON CONGRESS FOR ENHANCED COVERAGE OF TELEHEALTH SERVICES
Earlier today, the AAFP issued a public statement regarding the need for new policies that will enhance coverage and payment for telemedicine and virtual care. The statement calls on all health plans – public, private, ERISA and Medicaid – expand their policies in four key areas:
- Align Telehealth Coverage & Payment Policies with the CMS Directive
- Expand Coverage & Payment of Virtual Check-ins and e-visits
- Establish Parity for Telehealth Visits
- Amend Contract Language to Facilitate Virtual Care
Other Recent ISDH/AAFP Updates & Resources:
- On March 16, ISDH reported the first death in Indiana due to COVID-19
- Read the Indiana Health Alert Network Notification from March 14 here containing Steps to Take Now (PDF file)
- Read the ISDH Testing Algorithm updated on March 14 (PDF file)
- The Indiana Health Alert Network Notification for hospitals and hospital systems can be found here (PDF file)
- The ISDH’s COVID-19 page includes a dashboard showing the number of cases (updated daily): https://on.in.gov/COVID19
- Tell your representatives that the White House Coronavirus Task Force needs to take action NOW and help frontline family physicians in this fight! http://ow.ly/75CU50yLgEu
- CDC information and guidance about global travel on cruise ships, including river cruises
- AAFP Resources include a new checklist to prepare physician offices for COVID-19 and COVID-19 Rapid Response Member Exchange community
- The AAFP recently updated the COVID-19 page on Familydoctor.org with the latest evidence-based information for patients