Coronavirus Resources for Physicians

The IMA has gathered resources for physicians to reference during the coronavirus pandemic. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, follow the IMA Twitter

Helpful Links and Recent Updates

Payer Updates and Telehealth Information

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Coronavirus Codes

Legal Resources

Economic Assistance

Wellness Resources for Providers

School Re-Opening Guidance Resources

Clinical Trials

COVID-19 Testing Locations


Helpful Links and Recent Updates

  • Senate Republican Leaders have introduced the HEALS Act as a COVID-19 relief package. To view the AMA's summary of the provisions that would effect health care, click here
  • UPDATE 7/24: CDC has updated its guidance regarding health care professionals safely returning to work, emphasizing a COVID-19 symptoms-based strategy over a testing-based strategy. See the new guidelines here
  • UPDATE 7/24: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency, which was set to expire July 25. This 90-day extension declares that a nationwide public health emergency exists & has existed since January 27, 2020.

Payer Updates and Telehealth Information

Telemedicine payment policies vary by payer, and there is a possibility a payer will not pay for a telemedicine visit. IMA developed a quick reference guide to help you navigate telemedicine payment by payer. As new information is known, the chart is updated.

HHS has put together a 10-week learning community to accelerate telemedicine implementation to ambulatory providers called “HHS Telemedicine Hack”. Click here to see how to register, the session dates, etc.

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    • UDPATE 6/3: Using the CR Modifier and DR Condition Code - CMS revised MLN Matters Special Edition Article SE20011 on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Response to the Public Health Emergency on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to clarify when you must use modifier CR (catastrophe/disaster related) and/or condition code DR (disaster related) when submitting claims to Medicare. The update includes a chart of blanket waivers and flexibilities that require the modifier or condition code.
    • View the MEDICARE TELEMEDICINE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FACT SHEET
    • View the CMS telehealth toolkit
    • For information on the COVID-19 waivers and guidance, and the Interim Final Rule, released on March 30, please go to the CMS COVID-19 flexibilities webpage, visit here
    • CMS released their 2020 Medicare Learning Network Telehealth Services Booklet.  The booklet contains the updated Medicare telehealth policies for 2020 as well as a special alert on the changes made in response to COVID-19. 
    • RHC & FQHC Flexibilities During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: To support Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and their patients, Congress and CMS made changes to requirements and payments during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. See MLN Matters Special Edition Article 20016 to learn about:New payment for telehealth services, including how to bill Medicare
      Expansion of virtual communication services
      Revision of home health agency shortage requirement for visiting nursing services
      Consent for care management and virtual communication services
      Accelerated/advance payments
  • Idaho Medicaid
    • Telehealth policy changes made in the face of addressing COVID-19 have been rapidly developing and changing on an almost daily basis.  The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) has developed a fact sheet summarizing the developments thus far as they relate to telehealth policy on the federal and state level.  Keep in mind, that this document is a living document as new developments take place and to check the “Timestamp” to ensure you have the latest version. 
    • Medicare FFS Claims: 2% Payment Adjustment Suspended (Sequestration): Section 3709 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act temporarily suspends the 2% payment adjustment currently applied to all Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) claims due to sequestration. The suspension is effective for claims with dates of service from May 1 through December 31, 2020.
  • Blue Cross of Idaho
    • UPDATE 6/3: Blue Cross announced that the company will continue to pay member claims for telehealth visits at the same in-network, in-office rate through Dec. 31, 2020. See the full announcement HERE
  • United Healthcare
    • UPDATE 05/18: COVID-19 Antibody Testing: UnitedHealthcare is requesting all physicians and healthcare professionals who perform and bill for COVID-19 antibody tests to register the tests you will use for our members.  UnitedHealthcare will use the registration information to assist healthcare professionals in choosing tests that are FDA-approved and to better understand the clinical reliability of the tests being used.  Additional instruction on test registration can be found here


Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Important PPE Information Resources:

Stanford Medicine Anesthesia Informatics and Media lab published this report: Addressing COVID-19 Face Mask Shortages. This report includes helpful information about face mask alternatives, disinfecting face masks, reusing face masks, conserving face masks and more. 

Please review the CDC’s guidance on strategies for optimization of PPE

Decontamination Service for N95 Masks: Due to the shortage of available N95 respirators, the State of Idaho, FEMA, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have arranged for Battelle to place a Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS) in Idaho.The system is located with Idaho National Lab’s site in Idaho Falls and is capable of decontaminating up to 80,000 N95 type respirators each day, allowing them to be reused multiple times. Use of the CCDS to decontaminate your used N95 respirators, including shipping, is FREE TO YOUR ORGANIZATION. Consider using this free service in order to extend the life of N95 compatible respirators already in short supply. Enroll for this HERE

PPE Requests: Idaho has transitioned from ordering PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to requesting PPE from FEMA through the Idaho Emergency Operations Center(IDEOC); the state is required to provide FEMA with a daily “Burn-Rate” for all requesting agencies/users before they will accept a PPE Resource Request Form (RRF) from the state. If you need to order, or will be ordering PPE in the future, you will need to complete THIS SURVEY daily.  At the end of each week, the requests for PPE from those surveys will be compiled and submitted as one PPE Request For Assistance to IDEOC. IDEOC will then determine how best to satisfy the request, and then submit it to FEMA for action. IDEOC unfortunately cannot guarantee all items requested will be satisfied immediately given the current logistical issues Nationwide, we will however be prioritized by FEMA upon submission. For more information about the importance of this survey and FAQs, click here

Project N95 PPE supplier: Are you in need of N95 PPE in your clinic?  Project N95 is the National COVID-19 Critical Equipment Clearinghouse for PPE and critical equipment.  Project N95 is a rapid response, non-profit organization who works with suppliers and providers to get PPE out to our country’s healthcare workers.  The N95 website link to fill out to request PPE is, https://airtable.com/shrM9HFk8eeo9mLTK.  Or if you are able to volunteer or donate to their cause you can follow this link to find ways to contribute, https://www.projectn95.org/faq

PPE Donation Requests: To support healthcare organizations obtain PPE that are not met through state or federal channels, United Way of Treasure Valley has established a central system for you to request some medical and hygiene supplies.  This system will do its best to match needs with donated supplies. To submit your requests click here and you will be directed to a simple form. When/if your requests can be filled you will be contacted by a representative of United Way. Please keep in mind – this is a donation-based system.  The ability to match your needs with supplies will be subject to the availability of donated resources. 


Coronavirus Codes


Legal Resources

Holland and Hart law firm has created a coronavirus resource page and has provided helpful articles

Economic Assistance

  • HHS recently announced the additional distributions from the Provider Relief Fund to eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs.  HHS expects to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Distribution.  Eligible providers must submit their data by August 28.

HHS has created a fact sheet explaining the application process and answering frequently asked questions.

  • The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Among the CARES Act’s many provisions, the Act provides important new loan assistance for small businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). If you are wondering how the CARES Act may provide your practice financial assistance during this pandemic, please read this information from AMA. 
  • The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has created the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program in response to COVID-19.  Small business owners in Idaho are now eligible for apply for a low interest EIDL loan of up to $2 million to help offset the loss of revenue due to the pandemic.

The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Eligibility for EID loans are based on the financial impact of coronavirus. The interest rate is 3.75-percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75-percent. The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments up to a maximum of 30 years. There are size limitations on SBA EID loans.  Generally speaking, physician offices must be under the threshold of annual receipts less than $12 million.  View the specific size standards.

The deadline to apply for an EIDL is Dec. 21, 2020.

For information and to apply:  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/apply-for-disaster-loan/index.html

Online application here (fillable form):  disaster loan application

After applying, an SBA Disaster Assistance loan officer may request that you submit additional information through one or more of the following additional forms:

-Fee Disclosure Form and Compensation Agreement (Form 159D)
-Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413D)
-Request for Transcript of Tax Return (IRS Form 4506-T)
-Instructions for Request for Transcript of Tax Return (IRS Form 4506-T)
-Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202)
-Instructions for Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202)
-Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202)
-Additional Filing Requirements (SBA Form 1368)
-Additional Filing Requirements (SBA Form 413D)

  • HHS Begins Immediate Delivery of Initial $30 Billion of CARES Act Provider Relief FundingHHS partnered with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to deliver the stimulus payments, and physicians should contact UHG’s Provider Relations at 866-569-3522 about eligibility, whether a payment has been issued, and where it was sent. Note, if a physician or practice did not already set up direct deposit through CMS or UHG’s Optum Pay, they will receive a check at a later date. Practices that would like to set up direct deposit now can call the UHG Provider Relations number. In addition, HHS has opened the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Payment Attestation Portal. Physicians who have been allocated a payment from the initial $30 billion general distribution must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agree to the terms and conditions within 30 days of payment. 
  • The SBA Express Bridge Loan (EBL) Pilot Program allows certain SBA lenders to offer expedited SBA-guaranteed bridge loans on an emergency basis for disaster-related purposes to eligible small businesses, while applying for and awaiting long-term financing. Amounts up to $25,000 may be provided. EBL loans can be made up to six months after the date of disaster declaration. For COVID-19, EBL loans can be approved through March 13, 2021. Refer to the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program Guide for eligibility and detailed information. 
  • Tax benefits under Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) - Beginning April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, covered employers under the FFCRA must provide eligible employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID19. Generally, a covered employer includes a private employer with fewer than 500 employees and certain public employers. However, it is important to note that an employer of a health care provider or emergency responder is not required to pay such paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, certain small businesses may exempt employees if the leave would jeopardize the company’s viability. For more details on these exceptions visit the Department of Labor’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers website.
  • Financial Worksheet: As revenue decreases, it will be important to closely examine your monthly expenses. If your practice management system is not able to automatically produce a dashboard report, consider utilizing a one-pagefinancial worksheet to get an at-a-glance view of your practice’s financial health.
  • Federal Income Taxes: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are providing tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to COVID-19. The deadline to file tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020. Refer to the IRS website for more information.
  • Federal Telehealth Grant Programs
    • FCC Telehealth Pilot: Program deadline: Until funds run out. The Federal Communications Commission will cover 85% of eligible costs of broadband connectivity, network equipment, and information services necessary to provide connected care services to the intended patient population. The program includes immediate reimbursement for telehealth equipment and services. See related slides on the program and overall information:
    • Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant: Program deadline: July 13. USDA Rural Development offers support to help rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. 
      See the application guide and related information. https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants
    • HRSA Telehealth Network Grant: Program deadline: June 15. The US Department of Health and Human Services provides grants to promote rural tele-emergency services with an emphasis on tele-stroke, tele-behavioral health, and tele-emergency medical services. See related information. 
  • UPDATE 4/1: Blue Cross of Idaho is Creating a Cash Flow Relief Program for Independent Providers. This Cash Flow Relief Program will give independent Idaho providers the opportunity to receive advance payments to cover shortfalls in cash flow due to the COVID-19 pandemic. View the details of the program

Wellness Resources for Providers

  • Physician Vitality Program: As you continue to take care of Idaho, please take care of yourself! The IMA Foundation has helped temporarily expand the Ada County Medical Society (ACMS) Physician Vitality Program (PVP) statewide, as a resource for ANY IMA member in Idaho (including PAs and NPs who are IMA members).
      
    PVP provides no-cost, confidential and anonymous counseling services tailored to healthcare professionals; these services are accessible through telehealth appointments.
      
  • Idaho coronavirus counseling assistance
  • Headspace – Headspace, a guided meditation app, is offering all US healthcare professionals free access to Headspace Plus through 2020.

 

School Re-Opening Guidance Resources

Idaho school districts are still determining their plans for the upcoming school year. We hope the resources below might be helpful if you, as a provider, are asked for or would like to give input on this matter to your community school officials. Here are some resources about safely reopening schools:

 

Clinical Trials


COVID-19 Testing Locations

UW Medicine Virology Laboratory in Seattle currently has capacity to perform additional COVID-19 tests from nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs with a <1 day turnaround time for results (from the time of receipt). Please see the following link for ordering instructions: https://testguide.labmed.uw.edu/public/view/NCVQLT

The Virology Lab continues to monitor requests for testing, and is balancing requests with their capacity so that the current turnaround time (<1 day) can be maintained. The Virology Lab can be contacted through email commserv@uw.edu or calling client services at 1-800-713-5198 to inquire about setting up a customer account.

Testing Locations:

Primary Health Respiratory Clinics: Please call ahead for a same-day COVID-19 appointment and remain in your vehicle when you arrive.

Garden City (5601 W. Chinden Blvd.): 208-809-2865
Meridian Crossroads (3280 E. Lanark Dr.): 208-895-8670
Nampa (700 Caldwell Blvd): 208-466-6567

 
  • St. Luke's:

    Patients who think they may have symptoms of COVID-19, or may have been exposed, should use our self-triage tool in myChart first; it will help them determine what to do next. If they don’t have a myChart account, they can create one online here.

    • If self-triage indicates that a patient should be tested, they will be able to schedule an appointment in myChart with one of the clinics listed below. They may also call our COVID-19 hotline for instructions or assistance at 208-381-9500.

    Once an appointment is scheduled, patients will be instructed to drive to the clinic at their designated appointment time. Patients will stay in their cars rather than enter the clinic. Our staff will meet patients in the parking lot to complete screening and specimen collection. The following St. Luke’s care facilities will be available for specimen collection during each clinic’s regular operating hours:

Call your health care provider if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Please let your provider know if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. Your health care professional will evaluate you to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Saint Alphonsus has established a COVID-19 Triage phone line at (208) 302-2683.  Nurses will provide answers on symptoms, screening locations, risk factors, prevention and more.  The hotline will be answered from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm seven days a week.   

For the latest COVID-19 updates from Saint Alphonsus, visit their webpage or Twitter.   

  • Saltzer Health:

    Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 can get PCR nasal swab tests at the two Saltzer Health urgent care clinics in Nampa. Curbside drive-up testing is no longer available.

    Hours are 8 am – 8 pm daily at both sites:

    North Nampa urgent care, 9850 W. St. Luke’s Drive
    South Nampa urgent care, 215 E. Hawaii Ave.

    To protect the health of patients and staff, all urgent care visitors are required to wear a mask. A mask will be provided to those who do not have one.

    Clinic staff will direct symptomatic COVID-19 patients to designated areas for testing; patients may be asked to wait in their car to prevent exposure to other patients in waiting rooms.

    For the latest COVID-19 updates from Saltzer Health, visit their webpage or Twitter.