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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.
    • HR 748: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act 2020: On Friday March 27, 2020, the President signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill, the largest in U.S. history. The bill provides loans, tax breaks, and direct payments both to business and individuals whose revenue and income have been negatively affected under social distancing restrictions.
  • 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.
  • Office for Civil Rights
  • 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.
    • OIG Enforcement and Guidance: The OIG has broad oversight authority over HHS’s program integrity functions related to federal health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the health insurance exchanges, as well as the operations of the CDC, NIH, and FDA. The OIG is focused on lifting necessary barriers to care, such as through the recent announcement that it will not impose administrative sanctions for reducing or waiving cost-sharing obligations normally imposed under federal health care programs for telehealth services. The OIG has also created a new portal for all information and announcements related to COVID-19. The portal is accessible through the OIG’s main website or directly at oig.hhs.gov/coronavirus. Through this portal, the OIG is also seeking feedback from individuals or entities needing clarification as to the OIG’s oversight authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the OIG has solicited input regarding the application of the OIG’s administrative enforcement authorities, including the Anti-Kickback Statute, and has also offered to answer questions regarding how the OIG would view an arrangement that is directly connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. The OIG will make its responses to “frequently asked questions” available on the OIG’s website.
  • 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.
    • CMS interim final rule with comment period (IFC): This interim final rule with comment period (IFC) includes significant changes for provision of telehealth and remote care.
  • 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.
    • Notification of Enforcement Discretion: Office of the Secretary, HHS put out a paper to inform the public of the department exercising its discretion in how it applies the Privacy Rule under HIPAA.
  • 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.
 

Coronavirus Health Care Alerts

Jun.08.2020
Jun.04.2020
Jun.01.2020
May.29.2020
May.27.2020
May.14.2020
May.08.2020
Apr.23.2020
Apr.16.2020
Apr.15.2020
Apr.15.2020
Apr.13.2020
Apr.10.2020
Apr.09.2020
Apr.01.2020
Mar.27.2020
Mar.27.2020
Mar.26.2020
Mar.24.2020
Mar.20.2020
Mar.19.2020
Mar.19.2020
Mar.19.2020
Mar.10.2020
Feb.07.2020


From our blog - C&M Health Law

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Sep.14.2020