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Coronavirus Update for Monday, August 3

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, August 3.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has issued a news alert titled “HHS Extends Application Deadline for Medicaid Providers and Plans to Reopen Portal to Certain Medicare Providers.” This means some providers will have new opportunities to pursue grants from the CARES Act’s Provider Relief Fund.  The major subjects of this news release are:
    • HHS is extending the deadline for applying for the phase 2 general distribution to Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, CHIP, and dental providers to August 28. The web portal for applying is here.
    • Starting the week of August 10, HHS will permit Medicare providers that missed the first opportunity to apply for funding from the $20 billion portion of the $50 billion phase 1 Medicare general distribution. Applications for this funding, which can amount to up to two percent of annual patient revenue, are now due August 28.
    • Some providers that have undergone a change in ownership did not receive the automatic payments for the pool of $30 billion from the $50 billion phase 1 Medicare general distribution. Starting August 10, those providers may submit documentation for consideration of a Provider Relief Fund payment.  These applications, too, are due August 28.

For more information, find HHS’s CARES Act Provider Relief Fund page here and its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ here.  (Please note that the FAQ is updated frequently.)

  • HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQ with additions and modifications on the following subjects:
    • Sharing targeted distribution money received on behalf of subsidiaries (p. 2).
    • Time limits for expending Provider Relief Fund payments (p. 6).
    • Whether Provider Relief Fund payments are subject to Single Audit (two questions, one on pp. 10-11 and another on p.11).
    • Extensions for submitting data for audits (p. 11).
    • Identifying providers on lists to receive payments from the Medicaid, CHIP, and dental providers distribution (p. 30).
    • Information about dental providers and the Medicaid, CHIP, and dental providers distribution (p. 30).
    • Eligibility of providers for payments from the Medicaid, CHIP, and dental providers distribution if they have received aid from certain other COVID-19-related payment programs (two questions on p. 31).
    • Use of the applicant portal (three questions: on p. 37, pp. 37-38, p. 38).
    • Application issues for home and community-based services providers (two questions on  p. 38).
    • Applications from fiscal management services organizations for the Medicaid, CHIP, and dental providers distribution (two questions on p. 38).
    • Issues involving tax identification numbers (TINs) (two questions, one on pp. 38-39 and the other on p. 39).

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Lessons from the Front Lines

Lessons from the Front Lines calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.  Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response.  There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.

Friday, August 7 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4695240

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and health care systems to increase hospital capacity, expand the health care workforce, and promote the use of telehealth in Medicare.

Tuesday, August 4 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820, Access Passcode: 3296947

Audio Webcast link:  go here

Tuesday, August 11 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 3498643

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Home Health and Hospice

Tuesday, August 11 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5097566

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Nursing Homes

Wednesday, August 12 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7857618

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Dialysis Organizations

Wednesday, August 12 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1027088

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Nurses

Thursday, August 13 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7844289

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA updated its FAQ on the emergency use authorization for the use of remdesivir for treating COVID-19 patients and notes changes in the remdesivir fact sheet for health care providers and a changes in a separate fact sheet for patients and caregivers.
  • On Tuesday, August 4 at noon (eastern), the FDA will host a webinar on its regulation of face masks and surgical masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested parties can go here for call-in information for the webinar and for access to transcripts of past webinars and the presentations offered during those events.  The FDA will hold a similar webinar on August 18, also at 12:15.
  • The FDA will host a virtual town hall on August 5 at 12:15 (eastern) for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The purpose of this town hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for COVID-19.  Go here for call-in information for the town hall and for access to transcripts of past town halls and the presentations offered during those events.  The FDA will hold similar town halls on August 12, 19, and 26, also at 12:15.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Thursday, July 30

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has updated its FAQs on its administrative authorities on arrangements directly connected to the COVID-19 emergency with new guidance for providers.
  • HHS has issued a report documenting trends in the use of telehealth by Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 emergency. Find HHS’s announcement about the report and its summary here and go here to see the report itself.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has announced that it is introducing new procedure codes to enable Medicare and other insurers to identify the use of remdesivir and convalescent plasma for treating hospital inpatients with COVID-19. These new codes go into effect on August 1.
  • CMS has updated its FAQ for providers on Medicare fee-for-service billing The changes address:
    • Use of the cost-sharing modifier for pre-surgery exams that include COVID-19 testing (pp. 10-11).
    • Billing for COVID-19 testing provided in an outpatient department prior to an inpatient admission (pp. 21-22).
    • Billing for diabetes self-management training services delivered via telehealth (two questions, one on p. 74 and one on pp. 74-75).
    • Billing for telehealth services furnished by a provider located outside the U.S. (p. 75).
    • Billing involving episodes of care for patients participating in a Medicare Shared Savings Program (five questions: 96-97, 97, 97-98, and two on p. 98).
    • Billing when serving patients with the assistance of drugs or supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile or other government source (pp. 111-112).
    • Billing for telehealth services (five questions: 126-127, 127, 127-128, 128, and 128-129).
    • Billing for therapy provided via telehealth (pp. 131-132).
  • CMS and the CDC announced that payment is available to physicians and health care providers to counsel patients at the time of COVID-19 testing about the importance of self-isolation after they are tested and prior to the onset of symptoms. CMS will use existing evaluation and management (E/M) payment codes to reimburse providers who are eligible to bill CMS for counseling services no matter where a test is administered, including doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, hospitals, and community drive-through or pharmacy testing sites.
  • See the CMS news release announcing the new policy and a new CMS counseling checklist.
  • CMS has added certain COVID-19 diagnostic tests to its lists of tests that do not need to be ordered by authorized practitioners during the current public health emergency and for which Medicare will pay. Read about this addition here and find a list of other tests similarly authorized here.
  • CMS has updated its “COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers” with two changes:
  • it extended the deadline for hospitals to submit their occupational mix surveys with supporting documentation to their MACs to no later than September 3 (it had previously been extended from July 1 to August 3) (see page 14) and
  • it terminated its previous waiver of the requirement that long-term-care facilities submit staffing data through the payroll-based journal system (see page 15).

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

  • The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s standing committee on emerging infectious diseases and 21st century health threats has outlined considerations for clinical staffing needs during the implementation of crisis standards of care. It has produced a consultation document on this subject and will host webinars to brief stakeholders on Friday, July 31; Tuesday, August 4; and Wednesday, August 5.  Find the document here and go here to register for one of the webinars.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has posted a new template for commercial developers to help them develop and submit emergency use authorization (EUA) requests for COVID-19 diagnostic tests that can be performed entirely at home or in other settings besides a lab, such as offices or schools, and that could be available without a prescription. See the FDA’s announcement here.
  • The FDA has updated its guidance for laboratories performing COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, July 28

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28.

Senate “HEALS” Act

Yesterday, Senate Republicans introduced the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act (“HEALS”), their proposed COVID-19/stimulus bill.  Health care highlights include:

  • Increasing the time providers will have before CMS begins recoupment of loans made through the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and an extension of the time before providers will need to pay interest on those loans.
  • $25 billion to be added to the CARES Act’s Provider Relief Fund.
  • Extension of the current Medicare telehealth waivers through 2021 or until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Liability protection for health care facilities and providers.
  • A freeze on 2021 Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles at 2020 levels.
  • Additional funding for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, the NIH, CDC, FQHCs, rural health centers, and vaccines, therapies, and diagnostic tools.

NASH sent a more detailed memo about the proposal to its members earlier today.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ with two modifications on pages 15 that address sharing Provider Relief Fund general distributions with related entities and another on page 30 about the Medicaid-only distribution. All are marked “Modified 7/23/2020.”

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has updated its FAQ on Medicare fee-for-service billing with new information about the use of the CS modifier when coding for certain Medicare-covered telehealth services and/or evaluation/management (E/M) visits. See pages 68 and 69 for details.
  • An MLN Matters special edition article about fee-for-service waivers effective during the public health emergency has been modified to clarify how coinsurance and deductible waivers apply to lab tests regardless of the HCPCS codes used to report those tests.
  • CMS issued a new MLN Matters publication detailing how inpatient care settings operating under a CLIA waiver can be paid for antigen tests authorized by the FDA as of July 2. Modifier QW must be added to HCPCS code 87426 (which describes this testing) and providers should request that MACs reprocess any claims previously denied for failing to append the QW modifier.  MACs will not retract payment for claims already paid.
  • CMS has created a “Home Health COVID-19 PHE Tip Sheet” to help home health providers understand the status of the Home Health Quality Reporting Program (QRP) during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The tip sheet includes guidance addressing home health quality data submission requirements starting July 1, 2020, now that the temporary Home Health QRP exemptions from the COVID-19 public health emergency have ended.
  • CMS has created an “LTCH COVID-19 PHE Tip Sheet” designed to help long-term-care hospitals (LTCHs) understand the status of the LTCH Quality Reporting Program (QRP) during the COVID-19 public health emergency. It includes guidance addressing LTCH quality data submission requirements starting July 1, 2020, now that the temporary LTCH QRP exemptions from the COVID-19 PHE have ended.

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Lessons from the Front Lines

Lessons from the Front Lines calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.  Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response.  There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.

Friday, August 7 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4695240

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and health care systems to increase hospital capacity, expand the health care workforce, and promote the use of telehealth in Medicare.

Tuesday, August 4 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820, Access Passcode: 3296947

Audio Webcast link:  go here

Tuesday, August 11 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 3498643

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Home Health and Hospice

Tuesday, August 11 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5097566

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Nursing Homes

Wednesday, August 12 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7857618

Audio Webcast Link:  go here

Dialysis Organizations

Wednesday, August 12 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1027088

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Nurses

Thursday, August 13 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7844289

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

The Federal Reserve

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a commercial device to be used by health care providers as an extra layer of barrier protection to prevent exposure to pathogenic biological airborne particulates by providing isolation of hospitalized patients with suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 at the time of definitive airway management, when performing airway-related medical procedures, or during transport of such patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA has issued an EUA for a device for use in decontaminating compatible N95 respirators for single-user reuse by health care personnel.
  • The FDA has reissued an EUA for a commercial COVID-19 diagnostic test to include two new indications for use: testing for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms or who have no reason to suspect COVID-19 infection, and to allow pooled sample testing.  The reissuance includes authorization for the commercial laboratory to test pooled samples containing up to five individual swab specimens collected under observation.  See the FDA’s announcement here.
  • The FDA has updated its Testing Supply Substitution Strategies slide show to include validated supply alternatives that labs can use to continue performing testing when there is a supply issue with some components of a molecular test.
  • The FDA has issued EUAs for three commercial diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Find them here, here, and here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Thursday, July 23

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.

Department of Health and Human Services/CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS has posted information about the financial reporting that will be required of providers that received funding through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Those terms and conditions require providers to submit data documenting their use of the funds and compliance with the terms and conditions.  The HHS post lays out some of the parameters of the reporting and notes HHS will release instructions for Provider Relief Fund reporting by August 17.
  • HHS has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ with 23 additions and modifications.  Among other matters, they:
    • clarify that parent organizations of Provider Relief Fund recipients of targeted distribution payments cannot share those payments among their subsidiary entities;
    • clarify that these payments count toward the $750,000 threshold for determining whether an entity received sufficient federal assistance to be subject to a “Single Audit” (Medicare and Medicaid payments for patient care services do not generally contribute to this threshold), and provide information about a six-month delay in the deadline for submitting the related audit report; and
    • incorporate additional information on the distribution of grants to Medicaid providers, dentists, and providers in high-impact areas, and more.

These and the other changes are all marked “Added 7/22/2020” or “Modified 7/22/2020.”  Providers should review them carefully.

  • HHS will hold a webinar to describe the application process for the $15 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants it intends to distribute to eligible Medicaid, CHIP, and dental providers on Monday, July 27 at 3:00 (eastern). Interested parties can register and join the webinar here.
  • HHS announced that it will distribute $5 billion of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund money to Medicare-certified long-term-care facilities to build nursing home skills and enhance nursing homes’ response to COVID-19, including enhanced infection control. Go here for CMS’s news release announcing the funding.
  • As part of the same announcement, HHS said it will require all nursing homes in states with a five percent positivity rate or greater to test all nursing home staff for COVID-19 every week.

Congress

  • Congress hopes to pass COVID-19/economic stimulus legislation before it adjourns for the summer after the first week of August. The White House and Senate Republicans are working on an opening proposal that they would then negotiate with Senate Democrats.  While they are still working on that proposal, the major health care components on which they reportedly are focusing (as of Thursday afternoon) are:
  • $25 billion for the Provider Relief Fund (in addition to the money allocated to that fund by the CARES Act).
  • An extension until January 1, 2021 for hospitals to begin repaying the Medicare revenue they were advanced through the CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payments Program and an extension of four months of the period during which those advance payments can be repaid without interest.
  • The extension of Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine services through 2021.
  • $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.
  • Increased flexibility for how states can use money directed to them by the CARES Act.

This proposal is still incomplete and, if and when it is finalized by the White House and Senate Republicans, will then become the subject of negotiations with Senate Democrats.  The legislation also will have to be negotiated with the House, which last month passed its own HEROES Act addressing many of the policy areas the Senate legislation is expected to pursue.

Public Health Emergency Declaration

  • The federal government’s declaration of a COVID-19 public health emergency expires this Friday, July 24. Like many other provider groups across the country, NASH has urged the administration to renew this declaration.  The declaration is so important because it led directly to the many regulatory flexibilities, especially through Medicare, that have enabled hospitals and health care providers to respond so effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If the declaration expires, so do those flexibilities.  Providers everywhere now await a decision from the White House.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • The CDC has posted updated guidance on the isolation of COVID-19 patients to incorporate recent evidence to inform the duration of isolation and precautions recommended to prevent transmission of COVID-19 while limiting unnecessarily prolonged isolation and what it calls “unnecessary use of laboratory testing resources.”

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, July 21

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21.

Public Health Emergency Declaration

The federal government’s declaration of a COVID-19 public health emergency expires this Friday, July 24.  Like many other provider groups across the country, NASH has urged the administration to renew this declaration.  The declaration is so important because it led directly to the many regulatory flexibilities, especially through Medicare, that have enabled hospitals and health care providers to respond so effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If the declaration expires, so do those flexibilities.  Providers everywhere now await a decision from the White House.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • As announced last week, HHS has begun making its second distribution of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants to hospitals in COVID-19 high-impact areas (“hotspots”) – that is, hospitals that have cared for especially high numbers of COVID-19 patients. According to the agency’s news release,

The second round of funding…was based on a formula for hospitals with over 161 COVID-19 admissions between January 1 and June 10, 2020, or one admission per day, or that experienced a disproportionate intensity of COVID admissions (exceeding the average ratio of COVID admissions/bed).  Hospitals will be paid $50,000 per eligible admission.

HHS has distributed approximately $8.5 billion to such hotspot hospitals so far; a list of recipient hospitals can be found through a link in this HHS news release.  At the same time, HHS has acknowledged that the list is incomplete and is still reviewing COVID-19 admissions data from other hospitals with the intention of distributing another $1.5 billion to additional hotspot hospitals that have not yet received any funding through this latest distribution.

  • In June HHS announced the opening of an application period and plans to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs that had not yet received a payment in the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund general distribution. Since that announcement HHS has hosted a number of webinars for providers and provider organizations to answer questions and help those eligible through the application process.  HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration has created a fact sheet explaining the application process.  To ensure that eligible Medicaid and CHIP providers, including dentists, have the opportunity to apply for a funding distribution, HHS has extended the application deadline to August 3, 2020.  This, too, is described in the HHS news release.
  • HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQ. Additions include seven changes marked “7/17/2020” and one change dated “7/20/2020.”  One of the changes addresses new providers in the general distribution of Provider Relief Funds; six address the distribution of Provider Relief Funds to Medicaid and CHIP-only providers; and one notes a change in the deadline for potential participants in a Provider Relief Fund distribution to dentists.   Providers should review these changes carefully.
  • HHS’s Office of Civil Rights has issued guidance reminding recipients of federal financial assistance that they must comply with applicable federal civil rights laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in HHS-funded programs during the COVID-19 emergency. The HHS bulletin focuses on recipients’ compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI).  Go here to see a news release describing HHS’s actions and here to see the bulletin “Civil Rights Protections Prohibiting Race, Color and National Origin Discrimination During COVID‐19.”

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has updated its document “COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing” to incorporate changes in cost report filing deadlines announced two weeks ago (see pages 94 and 95) and to address the question of whether skilled nursing facilities or hospitals can accept local, state, or federal resources to help with the COVID-19 emergency and still bill Medicare (see page 133).
  • CMS has updated the MLN Matters article “Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Response to the Public Health Emergency on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)” with updated CDC guidelines for nursing home residents and patients and an update on applying the skilled nursing facility benefit period waiver.

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls

Tuesday, July 28th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:1492795

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines:  COVID-19

Friday, August 7th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Dial-in number, access code, and web link all to be announced later.

Nursing Homes Call

Wednesday, July 22nd at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  1143564

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, July 22nd at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7692208

Audio Webcast Link: go here.

Nurses Call

Thursday, July 23rd at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7971869

Audio Webcast Link: go here.

Conference lines are limited so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio.  To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for the COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit CMS’s Podcast and Transcripts page.

National Institutes of Health

Federal Reserve System

Department of Labor

  • The Department of Labor has published guidance for workers and employers on how the protections and requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act affect the workplace as workplaces reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. These materials include a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and an FAQ about paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  It  also has produced two guidance posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees of their Families First Coronavirus Response Act rights; an FAQ about posting requirements; and simple Quick Benefits Tips to determine how much paid leave the Families First Coronavirus Response Act permits workers to take.

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

 

 

Coronavirus Update for Wednesday, July 15

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15.

NASH Advocacy

  • NASH has endorsed a House bill, HR 7606, that would delay implementation of the Medicaid fiscal accountability regulation (MFAR) until the Government Accountability Office has an opportunity to assess its impact on individual states and identify the Medicaid transparency issues that need to be addressed. NASH called on CMS to withdraw this proposed rule in a January letter.  The MFAR Transparency Act, sponsored by representatives Roger Williams (R-TX) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), also would prevent implementation of MFAR without specific authorization from Congress.  See NASH’s letter to the bill’s sponsors here.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has implemented new data reporting requirements for hospitals that took effect today. In some respects, these requirements differ significantly from recent practices.  Go here to see the detailed HHS document “COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQs For Hospitals, Hospital Laboratory, and Acute Care Facility Data Reporting.” Readers who would like to receive a copy of NASH’s memo about these new reporting requirements should contact NASH via the email address at the bottom of this blog post.
  • HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration has posted a fact sheet on the Provider Relief Fund’s next distribution for Medicaid and CHIP providers. The fact sheet includes information about eligibility criteria and application requirements.  Applications are due July 20.
  • HHS has made three additions to its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ. All are marked “7/14/2020.”  Providers should go here and review the changes carefully.
  • HHS announced a large-scale procurement of rapid point-of-care diagnostic test instruments and tests to be distributed to nursing homes in COVID-19 hotspot areas. This initiative has been described as a one-time procurement of devices and tests targeted to facilitate on-site testing among nursing home residents and staff.  Distribution will begin next week.  Learn more from this HHS announcement.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • The CMS online publication MLN Matters has published the article “Quarterly Update for Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule and Laboratory Services Subject to Reasonable Charge Payment.” Providers can learn about COVID-19 codes 87426, 0223U and 0224U.
  • CMS and the CDC are holding a national webinar on “Establishing an Infection Prevention Program in a Nursing Home, With an Emphasis on COVID-19” on Thursday, July 16 at 4:00 (eastern). Advance Registration Required:  Register here.  This webinar is open to nursing home leaders, clinical and administrative staff members, and others interested in nursing home infection prevention in the era of COVID-19.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has added dexamethasone sodium phosphate to the lists of drugs for temporary compounding by outsourcing facilities and pharmacy compounders during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These updates help address shortages and access concerns affecting some drugs urgently needed for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for three commercial diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Find them here, here, and here.
  • The FDA has issued EUAs for two commercial serology tests for COVID-19. Find them here and here.
  • The FDA has added a new device to its list of authorized ventilator accessories: a CPAP mask that has been modified by combining it with an N95 mask.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Internal Revenue Service

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

 

Coronavirus Update for Monday, July 13

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Monday, July 13.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has announced that it will distribute another $4 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Fund money. Of that sum, approximately $3 billion will be distributed to safety-net providers, with the agency expanding its criteria since its June distribution of safety-net provider funding to encompass some safety-net hospitals that did not meet the previous criterion that addressed hospital profitability.  Another $1 billion will be distributed to specialty rural hospitals, urban hospitals with certain rural Medicare designations, and hospitals in small metropolitan areas.  Hospitals are expected to see deposits as soon as Wednesday.
  • As part of these newest distributions of CARES Act money, HHS has added extensive updates to its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ. Most of the new questions involve these latest distributions and are all marked “7/10/2020.”
  • HHS also has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ with new information about finding the status of applications or payments; the impact of changes on ownership in eligibility for payments; the eligibility of Programs of All-Inclusive Care (PACE) for payments; accounting for full-time employees by applicants for the Medicaid and CHIP distribution; and the ability of providers with tax identification numbers that have not yet been validated to apply for funds. All changes are marked “7/8/2020.”
  • HHS has posted a video titled “Five Things About Nursing Homes During COVID-19” that presents five things the agency is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
  • HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the adoption of a revised Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records regulation that seeks to advance “…the integration of healthcare for individuals with substance use disorders while maintaining critical privacy and confidentiality protections. Under Part 2, a federally assisted substance use disorder program may only disclose patient identifying information with the individual’s written consent, as part of a court order, or under a few limited exceptions.”  Under the new rule, however, “Health care providers, with patients’ consent, will be able to more easily conduct such activities as quality improvement, claims management, patient safety, training, and program integrity efforts.”  Go here to see HHS’s announcement and go here to see HHS’s fact sheet about the new regulation.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Home Health and Hospice Calls

Tuesday, July 21st at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  6080197

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls

Tuesday, July 14th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  2550919

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Tuesday, July 21st at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7477995

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Tuesday, July 28th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  1492795

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Nursing Homes Call

Wednesday, July 22nd at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  1143564

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, July 22nd at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7692208

Audio Webcast Link: go here.

Nurses Call

Thursday, July 23rd at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7971869

Audio Webcast Link: go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines

Friday, July 17th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Code: 3096434

Web Link:  go here.

Conference lines are limited so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio.  To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for the COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit CMS’s Podcast and Transcripts page.

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Department of Labor

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

 

Coronavirus Update for Wednesday, July 8

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8.

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has published an FAQ addressing matters involving provider burden relief.
  • In March, CMS published a memo “…granting exceptions under certain Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs for acute care hospitals, Prospective Payment System (PPS)-exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, renal dialysis facilities, and Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians for all providers and suppliers…” participating in certain CMS quality data reporting programs.  Those exceptions have now expired.  Providers may request exceptions to the restored quality data reporting requirements using this form.
  • In its online publication MLN Matters, CMS has revised past guidance with a new point-of-origin code for the transfer of patients from a designated disaster alternate care site.  The article introduces a new Point of Origin (PoO) Code “G” to indicate a “Transfer from a Designated Disaster Alternative Care Site (ACS)” due to changes related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • CMS has updated the MLN Matters article “New and Expanded Flexibilities for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE)” to clarify how Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers can apply the Cost Sharing (CS) modifier to preventive services furnished via telehealth.
  • CMS has published its proposed end-stage renal disease prospective payment system for calendar year 2021.  In it the agency proposes, at least in part in response to the COVID-19 emergency, “…that certain new and innovative equipment and supplies used for dialysis treatment of patients with ESRD in the home would qualify for an additional Medicare payment.  These proposed changes would encourage the development of certain new and innovative home dialysis machines that would give beneficiaries more dialysis treatment options in the home…”  The changes include rate increases and add-on payments.  See CMS’s news release about the proposed rule here and a CMS fact sheet here and go here to see the rule itself.

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Home Health and Hospice Calls

Tuesday, July 21st at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  6080197

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls

Tuesday, July 14th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  2550919

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Tuesday, July 21st at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7477995

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Tuesday, July 28th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:833-614-0820; Access Passcode:1492795

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Nursing Homes Call

Wednesday, July 22nd at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  1143564

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, July 22nd at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7692208

Audio Webcast Link: go here.

Nurses Call

Thursday, July 9th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  9386539

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Thursday, July 23rd at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  7971869

Audio Webcast Link: go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines

Friday, July 17th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Code: 3096434

Web Link:  go here.

Conference lines are limited so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio.  To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for the COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit CMS’s Podcast and Transcripts page.

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Environmental Protection Agency

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

NASH Asks Senate for COVID-19 Help

Private safety-net hospitals need help with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 public health emergency, NASH wrote yesterday in a letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and minority leader Charles Schumer.

In its letter, NASH asked for:

  • An additional $100 billion for hospitals.
  • Forgiveness for money provided to hospitals through the federal CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
  • Action to prevent implementation of the Medicaid fiscal accountability regulation.
  • An increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate (FMAP).
  • An increase in states’ Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) allotments.
  • A moratorium on changes in hospital eligibility for the 340B prescription drug discount program, Medicare indirect medical education program, Medicare disproportionate share (Medicare DSH) program, and other programs.

See NASH’s letter here.

 

Coronavirus Update: Thursday, July 2

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2.

Reminder:  Submit COVID-19 Case Data

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has posted new FAQs for state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs.  The new FAQs cover a variety of Medicaid and CHIP topics, including:
    • eligibility and enrollment
    • notice and fair hearings
    • optional COVID-testing group FAQs
    • premiums and cost-sharing
    • benefits
    • non-emergency medical transportation
    • information technology
    • financing

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for three new commercial diagnostic tests for COVID-19.  Find them here, here, and here.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)