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Health Care Resources

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Federal, state, and local governments are issuing new laws, regulations and guidance documents in response to COVID-19 on a daily basis. These issuances directly impact the healthcare industry and the operations of a wide-variety of healthcare entities, including providers, payors, suppliers, healthcare technology companies, and other entities that directly or indirectly have a role in patient treatment. Crowell & Moring has been actively monitoring these developments and will continue updating this resource page to consolidate and summarize the major healthcare legal developments along with links to important governmental and non-governmental resources. These resources are organized by federal issues, key state issues, and specific industry areas such as telehealth. We also provide a comprehensive list of all alerts, blog posts and podcasts that the Crowell & Moring healthcare team has generated since the beginning of this crisis.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our contacts with questions or concerns pertaining to the developments below. HHS is encouraging feedback and questions on these issuances as well as on areas of need that have yet to be addressed. In addition to analyzing these developments and their application, we are fielding reactions and questions while assisting clients in this effort.


Federal Corner

  • Legislative Update
    • HR 6074: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020: On March 6, 2020, the President signed a $8.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations bill that amended Section 1135 to allow the HHS Secretary to temporarily waive certain Medicare telehealth requirements during the coronavirus public health emergency.
    • HR 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act, 2020: on March 18, 2020 the bill became a public law to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak by providing several services to Americans including: paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for healthcare workers. The bill provides appropriations to USDA, HHS, and OSHA.
  • HHS 
    • Section 1135 Waiver Associated with COVID-19:  On March 13, 2020, Secretary Azar issued a waiver of certain Medicare requirements, including EMTALA, Stark Law penalties, conditions of participation, and other requirements including HIPAA. Under all of these waivers, the authorized agencies within HHS need to take further actions to effectuate the waivers.
    • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Partner Toolkit: Most comprehensive list of HHS-wide coronavirus-related resources.
  • CMS Update
  • Office of Inspector General
    • HHS OIG COVID-19 Portal: Information on COVID-19 Fraud, Infectious Disease Preparedness & Response, Telehealth Cost-Sharing, related OIG news, and a link to submit HHS OIG COVID-19 Questions.
  • Coronavirus Task Force
    • The White House, HHS, and the CDC have provided a webpage that is focused on providing information for business and individuals with a main focus on public health.
  • Department of Justice
    • COVID-19 Fraud Resource Page: Information on how to report suspected fraud related to COVID-19 along with links to COVID-19 fraud related news.
  • OMB Guidance
    • Memoranda M-20-11 and M-20-17 authorizing awarding agencies to provide relief from certain Uniform Guidance requirements found at 2 C.F.R. Part 200 pertaining to recipients of federal grants and cooperative agreements.



Medicaid and State Developments

 



Telehealth

  • CMS Guidance
    • Telemedicine Fact Sheet: Provides specific guidance for expansion of Medicare telemedicine coverage during COVID-19 crisis.
    • Telemedicine and Telehealth Toolkit: Describes what constitutes a “Medicare Telehealth Visit,” a “Virtual Check-In,” and an “E-Visit” following HHS’s temporary expansion of Medicare telehealth benefits – and lists the HCPCS/CPT codes to be used for each of these services. This toolkit also includes a number of resources and links to help providers stand up telehealth systems in their hospitals and practices.
  • HIPAA / Privacy
    • OCR Enforcement Discretion: On March 17, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published a notice indicating that it will exercise enforcement discretion and waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients using certain communications technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
  • Fraud and Abuse
    • OIG Statement on Telehealth: On March 17, OIG provided a policy statement that it would not exercise their enforcement authority if providers waived required cost sharing related to telehealth services used during the COVID-19 emergency.
 



Other Useful Resources

  • American Health Care Association - The American Health Care Association (AHCA) resource page provides up to date information focused on long term care providers, ensuring that nursing homes and assisted living communities receive the necessary supplies and guidance to present the spread of COVID-19.
  • American Medical Association
    • COVID-19 CPT Codes - The American Medical Association (AMA) has released new CPT codes related to COVID-19. Here are links to the long, medium, and short descriptors, along with the Fact Sheet.
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Coronavirus Resource Center – The NAIC’s resource center includes links to state of emergency declarations, state insurance bulletins and administrative guidance issued in response to COVID-19, and related materials for not only health insurance but also other lines of business including life, workers’ compensation, general liability, business interruption insurance, travel insurance, and more.
 

From our blog - C&M Health Law

CMS Approves Medi-Cal Section 1135 Waivers
March 25, 2020

CMS Approves 11 More Section 1135 Waivers
March 24, 2020

CMS & State Medicaid Agencies Seek to Expand Enrollee Protections During COVID-19 Pandemic
March 23, 2020

HHS, States use Section 1135 Emergency Waivers to Meet COVID-19 Challenges
March 23, 2020

Flurry of Regulatory Activity Driven by COVID-19 Anxiety Impacts Health Plan Requirements and Permissible Actions
March 12, 2020