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COVID-19 Resources

 

 

For the most up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic please visit the resources linked below. 

 

 CDC DHSS
 Official Alerts Telemedicine   Helpful Resources  

Official Notices, Updates, and Recommendations

 

MO HealthNet Provider Bulletins & Hot Tips

MO HealthNet Coding for COVID-19 Testing
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the MO HealthNet Division is providing this information to physicians for billing purposes. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). MO HealthNet providers who test patients for COVID-19 may bill using the newly created HCPCS codes U0001 and U0002. HCPCS code U0001 is used specifically for CDC testing laboratories to test patients for SARS-CoV-2. HCPCS code U0002 allows laboratories to bill for non-CDC laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2. The MO HealthNet claims processing system will accept these codes on April 1, 2020, for dates of service on or after February 4, 2020. 

 

DHSS: Criteria to Guide Evaluation and Laboratory Testing for COVID-19

Testing for COVID-19 is available through the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) as well as commercial clinical laboratories. Clinicians who wish to submit specimens to the SPHL must submit a Missouri Patient Under Investigation (PUI) and Case Report Form and a Virology Test Request for each approved patient. For more information and to access the forms, please visit the SPHL Novel Coronavirus webpage. COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals through any laboratory is not recommended. To request testing through the SPHL, providers should call the Department of Health and Senior Services Hotline at 877-435-8411. Click HERE to learn more. 

 

COVID-19 Elective Surgeries and Non-Essential Procedures Recommendations

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that all elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical, and dental procedures be delayed during the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  You can find a copy of the press release here, and a copy of the guidance here.

 

Healing Arts and Pharmacy Boards Issue Joint Statement

The Missouri Board of Healing Arts and Board of Pharmacy issues a joint statement on the prescribing of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 prophylactic purposes. MAOPS had heard anecdotally that some healthcare practitioners were prescribing the drugs to themselves and family members, causing concern of shortages of the drug for patients in need. Please read the statement for the Boards’ recommendations.

 

Licensing During COVID-19

With many states easing licensure requirements to allow more physicians—including retirees—to help meet the pressing healthcare needs of the pandemic, please remember that AOA Members can send their AOA Profile to all state medical boards at no cost, while non-members pay a nominal fee.

 

CMS: Providers Can Skip 2019 MIPS Reporting Due to Coronavirus Crisis 

As part of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS has announced relief measures for providers who are bound to participate in its quality reporting programs, including the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Changes include the following:

  • Deadline extension: CMS is extending the deadline for submission of 2019 MIPS data from March 31, 2020 to April 30, 2020.
  • Automatic Qualification: If no MIPS data is submitted by MIPS-eligible clinicians by the April 30 deadline, those clinicians will automatically qualify for the existing “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy” and will be guaranteed a neutral (0%) Medicare Part B payment adjustment for the 2021 MIPS payment year.

CMS Temporary Waivers for Medicare State Licensure and Enrollment 

To prevent gaps in access to care for patients impacted by COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued temporary waivers to allow non-participating physicians and non-physician practitioners to enroll in the Medicare program. In addition, CMS will also allow licensed health care providers already enrolled in Medicare to provide medical services across state lines.  CMS has provided Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief including toll-free hotlines to expedite the enrollment process and answer questions related to COVID-19 enrollment requirements.

 

 

 


Telemedicine

 

Telemedicine, the Physician – Patient Relationship, and Prescribing During COVID-19 Pandemic

MAOPS has received several inquiries regarding prescribing controlled substances during the COVID-19 pandemic since patients are being encouraged to avoid non-essential physician and hospital visits. On March 18, Governor Mike Parson issued Executive Order 20-04. In this order he temporarily suspended the provisions of subsections 1 and 4 of section 334.108, section 191.1146, and 20 CSR 2220-020(11) relating to telemedicine and pharmacology for telemedicine, in order to allow physicians licensed under Chapter 334, RSMo, to decrease the risk of exposure to both healthcare providers and patients.

 

Subsection 1 of 334.108 states: Prior to prescribing a drug, controlled substance or other treatment through telemedicine, as defined in section 191.1145, or the internet, a physician shall establish a valid physician-patient relationship as described in section 191.1146.” Subsection 4 states: No healthcare provider shall prescribe any drug, controlled substance, or other treatment to a patient based solely on an internet request or an internet questionnaire. The Executive Order temporarily suspends these subsections.

 

Section 191.1146 defines how a physician-patient relationship is established. It states that a physician who uses telemedicine shall ensure that a properly established physician-patient relationship exists with the person who received the telemedicine services. It then goes on to describe how a physician-patient relationship may be established, including through telemedicine. The Executive Order temporarily suspends this section.

 

Expanded Medicare Telehealth Services During Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 17, President Trump announced expanded Medicare Telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their physicians without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Beginning March 6, 2020, Medicare will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country. CMS has provided a Fact Sheet  and FAQ on this issue.

 

Multiple Chronic Conditions: Telehealth Guidelines

See the following guidelines provided by Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) on CMS for patients with multiple chronic conditions. (MAOPS has no financial relationship, not agreements to officially endorse the products of HRS.)

AOA COVID-19 Practice Implications Guide

MAOPS has received numerous calls regarding telemedicine and other practice implications during the COVID-19 outbreak. The AOA has provide us with this resource discussing federal policies, various health plan policies, CME policies, and telemedicine polices including virtual and telephone visits.

 

AMA quick guide to Telemedicine in Practice

This guide was created for physicians interested in implementing telemedicine into their practice to keep patients and themselves safe during this time. Click here to learn more. 

 

Free Dialer Access expanded to all US Healthcare Staff

Dialer is a program through the Doximity app that displays the office/hospital name and number on the patient's caller ID when being called from the cell phone of a member of a Physician-led healthcare team. Previously for healthcare providers only, this service is now available to all U.S. healthcare staff to aid in working remotely. Sign up HERE.

 


Helpful Resources

 

DHSS Online Resources

The Missouri Department of Social Services has provided unlimited access to one of its partner’s online trainings to help healthcare professionals and individuals prepare for and prevent the spread of infection. These include courses on:

Society for Hospital Medicine

Another great resource is the Society for Hospital Medicine’s website , with free, pre-recorded webinars on Hospital Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic , and COVID-19 PPE Utilization and Conservation Strategies . Since many physicians may be called to action and be performing procedures they have not done for a while, of particular relevance to physicians might be the refreshers they offer on the following:

 

COVID-19 Show-Me ECHO

COVID-19 ECHO will provide up-to-date information and support for health care stakeholders across Missouri. A multidisciplinary expert team led by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams, MD, will share the latest developments, answer questions, and discuss management of patient cases presented by participants. The COVID-19 ECHO will meet via Zoom videoconferencing every Monday from noon to 1 p.m.  Click here to learn more. 

 

Openxmed Platform for Primary Care Physicians

Openxmed is a medical knowledge platform created by a team of Infectious Disease physicians. It provides current COVID-19 updates, guidelines, and advice and is meant to be a streamlined resource for primary care providers who are on the front lines. Create an account here.

 

Prepare to Care for COVID-19: Get Your Practice Ready

This is a resource with practical tools clinicians can use to care for patients with COVID-19, and will be regularly updated to help clinicians adapt as the outbreak "unfolds”. It includes printable signage to hang in the clinic and patient handouts with tips for home care. For more information, click HERE.

 

Physician-curated COVID-19 News and Peer Commentary

ACOVID-19 Newsroom: Click HERE.


Free COVID-19 Job Posts to Address Surge Capacity

Doximity is offering a free job posting service to medical facilities to accommodate the increase in COVID-19 related staffing needs. If you are interested in recruiting staff through this service, click here to sign up. Click here to see open positions that have been posted.

 

CDC COVID-19 Exclusive Update to the AOA
Senior staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided AOA members with an exclusive update on CDC efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including access to PPE, testing availability and guidelines and tips for physicians in private practice. During the webinar, AOA staff also discussed new advocacy resources and our latest efforts to impact legislation locally and nationally, especially in relation to PPE. Read a summary and view the full webinar here .

 

AOA Telemedicine Guidance for DOs

Barriers to telemedicine are rapidly disappearing in order to treat patients. To assist physicians through this transition, AOA staff has developed a telemedicine page on osteopathic.org, with the following resources:

  • Telemedicine Guide : Track the latest guidance from CMS and private payers, including the latest billing codes and guidance on acceptable telehealth platforms. This guide is continually updated as the situation evolves, with the latest update on March 24.
  • Telemedicine Webinar: On Wednesday, March 25, Michael Brown, DO, shared his knowledge and experience on successfully deploying telemedicine during a live webinar presented by AOIA. The webinar and slides are now available for anyone to view here . Those seeking CME should register here
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