COVID-19 in the News July 6th – July 13th
Lysol Kills SARS-CoV-2, Modifiers Used during PHE, and COVID-19 State Testing Plans
MMP remains committed to continuing to monitor for COVID-19 updates specific to our reader base. This week we highlight key updates spanning from July 6th through July 13th.
Resource Spotlight This Week: National Institute on Aging Provides Government COVID-19 Resources for Older Adults
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Aging has developed a webpage to provide Government COVID-19 Resources for Older Adults. Guidance and Information available on this page includes:
- Federal Resources on Caregiving during COVID-19,
- COVID-19 Financial & Housing Resources for Families,
- Health Information on Coronavirus,
- COVID-19 and Healthcare,
- COVID-19 Safety and Emergency Response,
- COVID-19 Resources for Veterans, and
- Employment Resources for COVID-19
July 6, 2020: EPA Approves First Surface Disinfectant Products Tested on the SARS-CoV-2 Virus
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a News Release that they have approved two products that safely and effectively kill the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, on surfaces.
- Lysol Disinfectant Spray (EPA Reg. No. 777-99), and
- Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist (EPA Reg. No. 777-127)
July 6, 2020: New and Expanded Flexibilities for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency MLN Article Revised
MLN SE20016 was initially issued on April 17, 2020. Now in the third iteration, this article was revised on July 6th to include:
- Additional guidance on telehealth services that have cost-sharing waived and additional claims examples, and
- An additional section on the RHC Productivity Standard.
July 7, 2020: HHS Launches ‘Surge’ COVID-19 Testing in Hospital Jurisdictions in Florida, Louisiana and Texas
HHS Announced free COVID-19 testing in Jacksonville, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Edinburg, Texas to “temporarily increase federal support to communities where there has been a recent and intense level of new cases and hospitalizations related to the ongoing outbreak.” HHS, in partnership with eTrueNorth plans to offer 5,000 tests per-city per-day at no charge to people being tested. “The temporary surge testing sites will be live anywhere from five to 12 days.”
July 8, 2020: MLN SE20011 Medicare Fee-for-Services Response to Public Health Emergency on COVID-19 Revised Again
MLN SE20011 article has once again been updated. This most recent revision was to add a row at the end of the Waiver/Flexibility table (page 7) to address services provided by the hospital in the patient’s home as a provider-based outpatient department when the patient is registered as a hospital outpatient.
CMS also added the new section Teaching Physicians and Residents: Expansion of CPT Codes that May Be Billed with the GE Modifier.
July 8, 2020: Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration Releases the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Data
The PPP was established by the CARES Act and was meant to provide small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. On Monday July 8th the Department of Treasury and Small Business Administration released a summary of cumulative PPP data. As of July 8th almost 5 million loans have been approved with the average loan size being $106,542. Downloaded data is available for loans above and below $150,000 by state.
You can also access this date and read more about this program on the U.S. Department of Treasury website at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses.
Note, larger companies across the nation applied for and received funding from this program. However, since then, the Department of Treasury has indicated in an FAQ document that “it is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith, and such a company should be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request, the basis for its certification.” These companies were given the option to repay the money without penalty and have done just that. COVID Stimulus Watch, a public service of Good Jobs First has made available a list of awards, a list of funds that were later refunded.
July 8, 2020: MLN Article MM11815 Quarterly Update for Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule and Laboratory Services Subject to Reasonable Charge Payment – REVISED
MLN Article MM11815 was initially released June 12, 2020. This article was updated on July 9, 2020 to reflect a revision to related Change Request (CR) 11815. The revision added information on COVID-19 codes 87426, 0223U and 0224U. The effective date for all three of these new codes was June 25, 2020.
July 9, 2020: Medicare Part A & B Provider Outreach and Education Multi-MAC Collaboration Group Published Modifiers Used During COVID-19 Table
The Provider Outreach and Education A/B MAC Workgroup has developed a table titled Modifiers Used during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Information included in the table includes the following:
- The Type of Bill (TOB) the modifier would be used on Part A (UB04) or Part B (1500),
- Details about each modifier,
- Links to reference materials for each modifier, and
- When applicable, any exception/special usage for the modifier.
July 9, 2020: HHS Awards More Than $21 Million to Support Health Centers’ COVID-19 Response
HHS indicates in this News Release the awarding of more than $21 million to support health centers’ COVID-19 response efforts noting “the majority of this investment - $17 million – supports 78 Health Center Program look-alikes (LALs) with funding to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing.” Included in this announcement are links to the award recipients as well as links to where you can find more information about the following:
- Health center capacity and the impact of COVID-19 on health center operations, patients, and staff,
- Health Center Program look-alikes, and
- Health Center Controlled Networks.
July 10, 2020: HHS Announces Over $4 Billion in Additional Relief Payments to Healthcare Providers Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic
HHS through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced:
- Approximately $3 billion in funding to hospitals serving an large percentage of vulnerable populations on thin margins, and
- Approximately $1 billion to specialty rural hospitals, urban hospitals with certain rural Medicare designations, and hospitals in small metropolitan areas.
HHS is also opening the provider portal to allow dentists to apply for relief. You can read the full announcement on the HHS website at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/07/10/hhs-announces-over-4-billion-in-additional-relief-payments-to-providers-impacted-by-coronavirus-pandemic.html.
July 10, 2020: HHS Releases May and June COVID-19 State Testing Plans
HHS announced that they have made available May and June COVID-19 Testing plans from all states, territories, and localities. Plans include details on response to surge cases and how to reach vulnerable populations including minorities, immunocompromised individuals and older adults.
Assistant Secretary for Health AMD Brett P. GIroir, M.D. noted in the announcement that “Overall, the plans submitted by the states were very good to excellent; and all will be improved by the ongoing collaboration of states with federal experts. Testing is not just about numbers – it is about targeting testing to the right people at the right time, and incorporation of testing into a comprehensive state plan for COVID-19…We are pleased at what nearly every state has achieved to date, and look forward to continuing to expand SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity in the U.S."
July 10, 2020: Additional Resources Directed to Nursing Homes in COVID-19 Hotspot Areas
In a June 10th Press Release, CMS announced their plan to deploy Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) nationwide to provide immediate assistance to nursing homes in hotspot areas as identified by the White House Coronavirus Task Force with an end goal of protecting vulnerable Americans.
Article by Beth Cobb
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system.
This material was compiled to share information. MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.