COVID-19 eNews Update – March 18

As of March 18 Statistics:

In light of the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is exercising its enforcement discretion and, effective immediately, will not impose penalties on physicians using telehealth in the event of noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

For example, a physician using their professional judgement may request to examine a patient exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, using a video chat application connecting the physician’s or patient’s phone or desktop computer in order to assess a greater number of patients while limiting the risk of infection of other persons who would be exposed from an in-person consultation.

Likewise, a physician may provide similar telehealth services in the exercise of their professional judgment to assess or treat any other medical condition, even if not related to COVID-19, such as a sprained ankle, dental consultation or psychological evaluation, or other conditions.

Additional information can be found at this notice from Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Emergency Medical Aid and Telemedicine

Importantly, yesterday Medicare announced that it has temporarily limited its limitations on telehealth coverage. And the New York Department of Financial Services put out another statement reminding state regulated insurers about required telehealth coverage for all health care services without patient cost-sharing “including technology commonly available on smartphones and other devices”

Navigating Telehealth Reimbursement; Garfunkel Wild Presents Tomorrow Noon
While telehealth has become an acceptable means of delivering health care, how third-party payers reimburse telehealth services vary depending on the payer. This one-hour webinar will explore the rules and regulations impacting telehealth reimbursement by the Medicare and Medicaid programs and highlight the reimbursement policies of national commercial health plans.

Click here to Register
Thursday, March 19, 2020
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Join the New York State Department of Health and New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene for a call about COVID-19 – Tomorrow, March 19, 1:00 PM

19% of New York’s 1,374 Coronavirus Cases Required Hospitalization
New York has 53,000 hospital beds, including 3,000 beds in intensive care units which have ventilators and other equipment needed to treat the coronavirus, the governor said. That capacity, he said, is much lower than the 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds, and 18,600 to 37,200 ICU beds public health and epidemiological experts estimate New York will need when the virus hits its peak in the state. Estimates suggest that will happen in about 45 days.

Gov. Cuomo said 264 of the state’s 1,374 coronavirus cases, about 19 percent, required hospitalizations as of Tuesday morning.

“The expected peak is somewhere between 55,000 and 110,000 positives — the low range, 55,000, is a problem because we have people now in 80 percent of the 53,000 hospital beds — it’s not like they’re vacant,” he said. “One hundred and ten thousand is a problem because it’s double your capacity, if every bed was empty. The real problem is the ICU beds because that’s what people are going to need.”

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker added that New York has around 4,000 ventilators, and hundreds more in a stockpile, which can be deployed in response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Politico 3/17)

MSSNY’s HOD Meeting Scheduled for April 24-26 in Tarrytown Cancelled
The MSSNY HOD in Tarrytown has been canceled but will moved to an alternative format. When we have finalized the details, we will inform all attendees and members.

Additional COVID-19 Information