Updated COVID-19 Information

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Today, Friday, April 24, 2020 is the end of a long business work week but not for healthcare as that continues every single day.  This blog is another digest of the continuous flow of information related to COVID-19 in the past couple of days.  Thank you to all those on the frontlines caring for all patients and residents across the U.S.!

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing…CMS was updated April 23, 2020.  I’m still sorting through the 41-page document to see what’s changed since the last FAQ – the updated information is not in red ink to make that task easier.  Looks like there’s something for everyone.  This FAQ addresses:

  • Payment for Specimen Collection for Purposes of COVID-19 Testing
  • Diagnostic Laboratory Services
  • Hospital Services
  • Ambulance Services
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
  • Expansion of Virtual Communication Services for FQHCs/RHCs
  • Revision of the Home Health Agency Shortage Area Requirement for Visiting Nursing Services Furnished by RHCs and FQHCs
  • Medicare Telehealth
  • Physician Services
  • Home Infusion Services
  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACO)
  • Cost Reporting
  • Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs)
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Services
  • Skilled Nursing Facility Services
  • General Billing Requirements
  • Home Health
  • Drugs & Vaccines under Part B
  • National Coverage Determinations (NCD)
  • Medicare Payment to Facilities Accepting Government Resources
  • Oxygen
  • Temporary Department of Defense Sites
  • Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs)

Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment…CDC was updated April 22, 2020.

State Reporting of Cases and Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities…Kaiser Family Foundation was published April 23, 2020.  This is a very interesting read that includes lots of data and tables for reference.

“As of April 23, 2020, 36 states were reporting some level of data about coronavirus cases and deaths in long-term care facilities, with wide variation in types of data being reported, long-term care facility definitions, inclusion of residents/staff, and frequency of updates. There is wide variation in the types of data that states are reporting. Nine states report fully comprehensive data on cases and deaths at the facility level, including Illinois and Oregon. Other states, including Michigan, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania, report data at the country level, citing privacy concerns about reporting at the facility level. Three states provide data on facilities only, with New Mexico providing a list of facilities with reported cases, and Arizona and Maine reporting a total number of facilities. There is also some variation in the types of facilities that states include in their long-term care facility counts. Five states report data on nursing homes only, while the remaining states report on long-term facilities more generally. State definitions of “long-term care facilities” can include a range of settings, including assisted living facilities, personal care homes, and intermediate care facilities. Michigan and New Mexico are the only two states to report on congregate settings more generally, without providing a breakout for long-term care facilities. States also vary in their inclusion of residents versus staff in the reporting cases and deaths. Eight states report data on residents only, 17 states report data on residents and staff together, and the remaining states do not specify who is included in their data. States also varied in how often they update the data, with the majority of states updating the data daily. Kentucky and Utah provide the data via a daily press conference, and other states report that they update the data several times a week or weekly. Seven states, including California, Illinois, and New York, did not clearly report how often their data was updated.”

Quick Guide to Implementing Telehealth in Nursing Homes During the COVID-19 Pandemic…Telligen is a 4-page guide that provides information, checklists, tips and resources for using telehealth in LTC facilities during this emergency. Check out the Telligen QI Connect website for additional resources.

I hope you’re able to get some relaxation and much-deserved rest this weekend – recharge body and mind!