MSSNY eNews: July 7, 2021 – NYS Extends Audio-Only Telehealth Coverage
NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS) Once Again Extends Audio-Only Telehealth Coverage
The latest emergency regulation from DFS, released on Wednesday, July 7th, continues coverage for Telehealth services delivered via audio-only until at least October 1st. However, it is unclear if DFS will renew come October, making clarifying legislation potentially necessary.
Please note that last year a statute was enacted that requires Medicaid to cover audio-only Telehealth. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recently issued a guidance document for how Medicaid will continue to cover Telehealth services, including audio-only services.
Department of Labor Adopts Model Forms for Employers for Required Airborne Infection Prevention Plans
Today, the New York State Department of Labor put forth model forms for all New York employers to follow in adopting required airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standards in response to legislation enacted into law (the New York Health and Essential Rights Act – NY HERO Act) earlier this year. The law requires all employers regardless of size to have extensive new workplace health safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statute requires that employers adopt a safety plan within 30 days of the Department of Labor posting the model forms, and to share the safety plan with employees within 60 days of the posting of the model forms.
The airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans must be activated by the employer when an airborne infectious disease is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. The DOL website notes that, while employers must adopt plans as required by the law, “as of the date of this writing no designation is currently being made and therefore, plans are not required to be in effect.”
The standard and model plans are available in English and will be available in Spanish in the coming days. Employers are required to provide a copy of the adopted airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan and post the same in a visible and prominent location within each worksite.
There were also recent federal rules adopted for healthcare employers for preventing transmission of COVID-19 to employees, as noted in the recent alert by MSSNY’s General Counsel, the Garfunkel Wild law firm [see article below]. Physicians should consult with their legal counsel for how best to comply with these new state and federal requirements.
OSHA Issues Emergency Rules for Healthcare Employers and Updated Guidance for All Employers
On June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (the “Standard”) specific to COVID-19, including health screening mandates and COVID-specific protocols, and paid leave requirements for certain healthcare providers. The Standard generally enforces CDC protocols that have been recommended during the pandemic. On the same day, OSHA also issued “Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” for all other employers (the “Guidance”).
The Guidance focuses on protections for unvaccinated or otherwise “at-risk” workers, who are described as those that “cannot be protected through vaccination, cannot get vaccinated, or cannot use face coverings.” The Guidance notes that, unless otherwise required, most employers no longer need to take steps to protect fully vaccinated workers who are not otherwise at-risk from exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, or well-defined portions of the workplace, where all employees are fully vaccinated.
In addition to the Standard and Guidance, it is important to confirm with state and local requirements as well.
$790 in Annual Savings for MSSNY Members: CareClix Telemedicine Platform
MSSNY members receive the discounted rate of $50 per month for the license fee with no start-up costs—for a total of $790 in savings.
The CareClix user-friendly HIPPA compliant platform enables physicians to conduct routine virtual visits with patients in any location. With CareClix you can:
- Add Value to Your Practice
- Maximize Billing
- Eligibility Checks
- Promote Patient Satisfaction
- Reduce Cancellations and No-Shows
- Integrated EHR
For clinical practices lacking the capacity to manage their own CCM programs, CareClix also provides a white-labeled, turn-key CCM service. This enables even the smallest community hospitals to provide CCM services for their seniors. Caring for the patients most-at-need requires vigilance and improved access.
CareClix believes that implementing and managing a CCM program requires much more than just a traditional telemedicine platform with videoconferencing. Our platform includes a comprehensive Chronic Care Management module. This includes out-of-the-box integration for 200+ devices, covering all major key vital signs used in CCM. Our platform easily integrates with our partners’ EMR systems, and we have a team that includes practicing physicians and experienced implementation experts.
Physicians Worked Fewer Hours in 2020, Survey Finds
Compared to January 2019, U.S. physicians worked fewer hours per week on average when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to research published June 23 in JAMA Network Open.
Researchers from the Association of American Medical Colleges used national survey data to assess how weekly hours worked among physicians changed from January 2019 to December 2020. The study involved 2,563 physicians and 8,853 observations. At the start of the study period, the average number of hours worked per week was 50.8.
- In March 2020, physicians’ mean weekly hours worked fell to 49.
- The decrease hit a low in May 2020, when the average number of hours worked was 47.5.
- In the summer months, weekly hours worked began to climb before hitting another low in November.
- Physicians’ average number of weekly hours worked was 47.8 in December — a 6 percent decrease from January 2019.
- Overall, the number of physicians working full time fell from 84.1 percent before COVID-19 to 80.7 percent during the pandemic.
“This study found that physicians’ work hours have significantly decreased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., accelerating an existing, gradual decline,” researchers said. “These observed changes may reflect the decrease in healthcare utilization and the increased flexibilities instigated by COVID-19-driven regulations.”
— Carbajal, Becker’s Hospital Review
Reporter Looking for NY Patients to Interview for National Story
A reporter with USA Today is looking to set up interviews with long-haul COVID patients in New York. The story will focus on patients who have had financial struggles, including but not limited to challenges returning to work, filing disability claims, or health insurance coverage struggles. The national story will appear in USA Today and outlets across the country.
If you have patient(s) willing to share their stories, please send contact information to Roseann Raia at MSSNY.
Classified Ads Available for:
Physicians’ search services • allied medical placements • locum tenens • practice valuation • practice brokerage • practice consulting • real estate
For help, information or to place your ad, call Roseann Raia at 516-488-6100 ext. 302
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