COVID-19 in the News November 9th – 12th
Safely Celebrating Thanksgiving, Effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine Debunked, Operation CARE
MMP remains committed to continuing to monitor for COVID-19 updates specific to our reader base. This week we highlight key updates spanning from November 9th through the 12th.
Resource Spotlight: Celebrating Thanksgiving
As we quickly close in on Thanksgiving Day, the CDC has posted a webpage filled with information on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving. This page opens with the statement that “traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu…The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.”
November 9, 2020: ORCHID Trial Debunks Effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine in Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19
In a November 9, 2020 Press Release, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced findings from the trial called Outcomes Related to COVID-19 treated with Hydroxychloroquine among Inpatients with Symptomatic Disease (ORCHID). The ORCHID Trial enrolled participants between April 2 and June 19, 2020 who were a median age of 57. “At day 14, those who received hydroxychloroquine and those who received a placebo had a similar health status, with most participants in both groups discharged from the hospital and able to perform a range of activities.”
Per Wesley Self, M.D., M.P.H., emergency medicine physician at Vanderbilt University, “The finding that hydroxychloroquine is not effective for the treatment of COVID-19 was consistent across patient subgroups and for all evaluated outcomes, including clinical status, mortality, organ failures, duration of oxygen use, and hospital length of stay,”
November 10, 2020: OIG Posts Information about Operation CARE
The OIG has posted details about Operate CARE (Caring, Awareness, & Resources for Elders). With a long history of protecting the health and well-being of HHS beneficiaries they note that “Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a spike in the number of reports of elder harm and neglect.”
The OIG Operation CARE webpage includes resources (i.e., awareness posters) available to the public to also advocate for this population by reporting patient safety and fraud concerns.
November 12, 2020: COVID-19 Non-Physician Practitioner Billing for CPT Codes 98966-98968
In the Thursday November 12th edition of MLNConnects, CMS reminders non-physician practitioners that “During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), non-physician practitioners who are eligible to bill Medicare directly, including registered dietitians and nutrition professionals, may bill for audio-only telephone assessment and management services:
- CPT codes 98966-98968
- Dates of service on or after March 1 until the end of the PHE”
November 12, 2020: CMS Guidance - COVID-19 Vaccine Shots
CMS added the following new webpages to CMS.gov website regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Shots:
- Enrollment for Administering COVID-19 Vaccine Shots,
- Coding for COVID-19 Vaccine Shots,
- Medicare COVID-19 Vaccine Shot Payment,
- Medicare Billing for COVID-19 Vaccine Shot Administration,
- Beneficiary Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccine Shots, and
- CMS Quality Reporting for COVID-19 Vaccine Shots
November 12, 2020: CMS Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion
In addition to information about COVID-19 Vaccine Shots, CMS has added a Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion webpage which includes information on the following topics:
- Medicare Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion Program Instruction,
- Coding for Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion,
- Medicare Payment for Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion, and
- Billing for Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion Administration.
You can read more about the first Monoclonal Antibody drug to received Emergency Use Authorization for treating COVID-19 in a related FAQ in this week’s newsletter.
November 12, 2020: Special Edition MLN Connects – COVID-19 Vaccine Codes and PC-ACE Software Update
CMS noted the following in this Special Edition of MLN Connects:
“In anticipation of the availability of a vaccine(s), for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the American Medical Association (AMA), working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), created new codes for the vaccine and the administration of the vaccine. To prepare for the vaccine administration claims, the PC-ACE software is also updated and ready for providers to download.
If you intend to administer the COVID-19 vaccines when they become available, or the new monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, especially if you intend to roster bill these codes, please download and install the new release of PC-ACE. This release includes the coding structure, currently comprised of both a HCPCS Level I CPT code structure issued by the American Medical Association (AMA) and a HCPCS Level II code structure issued by CMS. Together, these codes support the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines and the monoclonal antibody infusions, as they become available; this structure includes the codes for bamlanivimab. This code structure was developed to facilitate efficient claims processing for any COVID-19 vaccines and monoclonal antibody infusions that receive FDA EUA or approval. CMS and the AMA are working collaboratively regarding which codes to submit for COVID-19 vaccines and administration. Most of these codes are not currently effective and not all codes will be used. We will issue specific code descriptors in the future. Effective dates for the codes for Medicare purposes will coincide with the date of the FDA EUA or approval.”
CDC COVID Data Tracker – United States COVID-19 Cases
|Data Date||Total Cases||Total Deaths||Cases in Last 7 Days|
|September 8, 2020||6,287,362||188,688||282,919|
|October 5, 2020||7,396,730||209,199||301,438|
|November 2, 2020||9,182,628||230,383||565,607|
|November 9, 2020||9,913,553||237,037||764,280|
|November 12, 2020||10,314,254||241,069||883,827|
|Resource: CDC COVID Data Tracker at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM37553#cases_totalcases|
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.