COVID-19 in the News June 8th – June 15th

on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. All News Items | Case Management | Documentation | Coding

Addressing the Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans, New CMS FAQs to Clarify Existing Guidance and Flexibilities, and New Point of Origin Code

MMP remains committed to continuing to monitor for COVID-19 updates specific to our reader base. This week we highlight key updates spanning from June 8th – June 15th

Weekly COVID-19 Resource Spotlight: CDC Communication Toolkit for Migrants, Refugees, and Other Limited-English-Proficient Populations

According to the CDC, the Toolkit Communication Toolkit was created to help public health professionals, health departments, community organizations, and healthcare systems and providers reach populations who may need COVID-19 prevention messaging in their native languages. Currently there are materials available in 28 languages ranging from Amharic to Vietnamese. The toolkit provides:

  • Current messaging from a trusted source.
  • Information in plain language available for downloading and sharing.
  • Translated materials to help communities disseminate messages to a wider audience.

June 8, 2020: Addressing the Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and Other Racial and Ethnic Minorities.

This HHS Office of Civil Rights Fact Sheet details initiatives underway to address the disparate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. A link to this document as well as other COVID-19 Announcements can be found on the HHS Civil Rights and COVID-19 webpage.

June 8, 2020: New FDA Webpages: Innovation to Respond to COVID-19 and Education Resources

In their June 8th COVID-19 Update: Daily Roundup, the FDA announced that they had published two new web pages to help the public access information:

June 9, 2020: CMS Recommendations for Re-Opening Facilities to Provide Non-emergent Non-COVID-19 Healthcare and a Guide for Patients as they consider In-Person Care Options

As the country moves towards “re-opening our towns” CMS has provided two documents for consideration during this transition. First is a guide for patients and beneficiaries as they consider “in-person” care options. Recommendations for the following topics can be found in this guide:

  • Do Not Postpone Necessary Care.
  • Is It Safe to Go to your Doctor or Hospital?
  • Consider Telehealth or Virtual Visits.
  • What to Expect when you Seek Healthcare.
  • Should I get tested for COVID-19 before seeking healthcare?
  • Vulnerable Populations: When Possible, Stay Home.

This new guide is available in English and Spanish.

Second, is CMS’ document providing recommendations for re-opening facilities to provide non-emergent, Non-COVID-19 healthcare. The recommendations are intended for states or regions who have determined with their public health officials that they have passed the Gating Criteria (symptoms, cases, and hospitals) announced on April 16, 2020, proceeded to Phase I, and are now ready for Phase II of re-opening. In this document, CMS recommends:

  • Optimization of telehealth services, when available and appropriate, to minimize the need for in-person services.
  • All individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness should continue to shelter in place unless an in-person healthcare visit is warranted.
  • The phased recommendations in this document “may guide healthcare systems, providers, and facilities as they consider delivering in-person care to non-COVID-19 patients in regions with lower or declining-without-rebound, levels of COVID-19.”

You can read more in a June 9th Press Release that includes links to both of these documents.

June 10, 2020: COVID-19 FAQs for Non Long-Term Care Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs/IIDs)

CMS released this FAQ Document on June 10th and indicates that “The purpose of this FAQs document is to clarify existing guidance and flexibilities and provide stakeholders with additional information based on questions received regarding the following entities:

  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs)
  • Hospitals & Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
  • Hospice
  • Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs/IID)
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)/Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).”

June 10, 2020: Using Telehealth to Expand Access to Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The CDC has created a webpage dedicated to the use of telehealth. Their purpose in providing this guidance is “to describe the landscape of telehealth services and provide considerations for healthcare systems, practices, and providers using telehealth services to provide virtual care during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 10th, you will find the following on this webpage:

  • Telehealth background,
  • Telehealth modalities,
  • Benefits and Potential Uses for Telehealth,
  • Strategies to Increase Telehealth Update,
  • Telehealth Reimbursement,
  • Safeguards for Telehealth Services,
  • Potential Limitations of Telehealth, and

June 12, 2020: CMS One-Time Notification: New Point of Origin Code for Transfer from a Designated Disaster Alternate Care Site

This Change Request (CR) 11836 implements a new Point of Origin (PoO) Code “G” to indicate a “Transfer from a Designated Disease Alternative Care Site (ACS),” due to changes relative to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

“Background: The National Uniform Billing Committee (NUBC) practice is to align Discharge Status Codes and Point of Origin (PoO) Codes whenever possible. It came to the Committee's attention that there is a Discharge Status Code for Alternate Care Sites (ACS) but no specific matching PoO Code. Relative to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NUBC created a new Point of Origin (PoO) Code "G" to be effective 07/01/2020, and defined as "Transfer From a Designated Disaster Alternate Care Site."

June 12, 2020: OCR Issues Guidance on HIPAA and Contacting Former COVID-19 Patients about Blood and Plasma Donation

The OCR has released a document answering the question of whether or not covered healthcare providers are permitted to use protected health information (PHI) to identify and contact patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to provide them with information about donating blood and plasma that could help other COVID-19 patients. The short answer is yes. As the late Andy Rooney would say, you can find the entire two page document for “the rest of the story” on the HHS.gov HIPAA and COVID-19 webpage.

June 13, 2020: HHS Awards $15 Million to Support Telehealth Providers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that they have awarded $15 million to 159 organizations across five health workforce programs to increase telehealth capabilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These awards are funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

HHS indicated in the announcement that “these investments will train students, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, allied health and other high-demand professionals in telehealth. This will enable these professionals to maximize telehealth for COVID-19 referrals for screening and testing, case management, outpatient care, and other essential care during the crisis.”

This announcement provides a link to the complete list of award recipients.

 

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. 

In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Risk Assessment (CRA) Tool. You may contact Beth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

 

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