COVID-19 Resource Page

VMS Resources for Members During COVID-19 
VMS wants to serve as an information resource during this critical time, please look below for COVID-19 specific guidance for your practice.
 
The VMS Rounds Newsletters also contain the most up-to-date information as we are publishing them twice weekly. Click here to read the latest issues. 

Latest, Most Relevant COVID-related Information |
 
                        

Small Business Support |

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:

Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program Online Application Portal Link The first AHS application period is now open for all Vermont health care provider applicants from July 17, 2020 through August 15, 2020. For more information please click here. 

Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program Guidance Documents:

 Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program: Webinar Series
This week, AHS and DVHA hosted an informational webinar series on the Provider Stabilization Grant Program. Here is the schedule and recordings:

 - Hazard Pay Grant Program Application Online Portal - Open Now - The Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program application portal opened Tuesday August 4th. Employers who are eligible applicants may submit applications for a lump sum grant award to distribute hazard pay to their eligible employees. The link to the application portal is here. As a reminder, funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis so employers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Hazard Pay Program Guidance and Application Instructions, including the required Summary Report of Eligible Employees are located here. If you have questions after reviewing the guidance documents, please use the online question submission form and AHS staff will respond as quickly as possible.

 - Vermont Practices Contacted if Eligible for Federal Financial Relief  - In recognition that many Vermont Medicaid clinicians may still be uncertain whether or not they are eligible for the federal financial relief allocated for Medicaid providers through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, DVHA wanted to let clinicians know of a recent communication from HHS. HHS informed Vermont Medicaid that it had identified 1,902 Vermont Medicaid medical, dental and long-term support and service providers as potentially eligible for the Medicaid Provider Relief Fund. If you received a recent email from DVHA, you were identified as a Medicaid provider potentially eligible for the federal Medicaid Provider Relief Fund distribution. As of July 15th, only 34 of Vermont’s potentially eligible providers have applied for financial relief. Medicaid providers must submit and complete an application (see instructions here) to HHS’ provider portal by August 3, 2020 (the date has been extended). Providers with questions about eligibility, whether a payment has been issued, and/or where the payment was sent should call the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Help Desk at 1-866-569-3522 and press option 2 or visit the HHS CARES Act Provider Relief Fund website for more information.

- Repayment of Accelerated and Advanced Payments Begins This Week - National Government Services (NGS) is reminding Part B Medicare providers that repayment of Accelerated and Advanced Payments (AAP) began July 27th, 2020. Providers have a 90-day window to make their AAP repayment, with each provider having a unique repayment due date based on the date your AAP was issued. Click to read more on the NGS recoupment process. 

 
Small Business Administration Funding
Paycheck Protection Program - PPP applications are again being accepted, with a new application deadline of August 8, 2020. The program has about $130 billion in funds remaining.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants - Provides an emergency loan up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 - reopened program July 2020.
 
FCC Telehealth Funding Opportunities
- On June 25, 2020, the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program stopped accepting new applications.
FCC Connected Care Pilot Program- 3-yr Pilot Program with applications opening soon - Updated July 23, 2020
 
Changes to Family/Sick Leave:
 
Back-to-Work Resources:
 
Practice Resources:
 
QPP and VT All Payer Model:

Telehealth Resources, Info and Coverage

VPQHC Telehealth Virtual Office Hours on Wednesdays from 12 pm - 1 pm and Thursdays from 8-9 am Contact telehealth@vpqhc.org 

BiState Primary Care Launches Telehealth Bootcamp

Thisonline bootcampis designed to complement the Vermont Telehealth Resources Guide. The strategy is simple - if you’re new to telehealth, then every morning for one work week, set a timer for 30 minutes and review one of the five sections below. By the end of the week you’ll know the basics and be ready to explore the many great resources available to help Vermont health care providers implement a strong telehealth strategy. 

 
Payer's Coding and Reimbursement Policies
Medicare
Guidance Document
On April 30, 2020 CMS lifted Medicare restrictions on the use of telehealth services during the COVID-19 emergency. Key changes effective March 1, and lasting throughout the national public health emergency include:
  • Medicare will pay physicians for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits for all diagnoses, not just services related to COVID-19.
  • Patients can receive telehealth services in all areas of the country and in all settings, including at their home.  
  • Increased reimbursement rates for audio-only telemedicine. The change, which is retroactive to March 1, boosts payments for telephonic evaluation and management services (CPT codes 99441-99443) to match those of regular, in-office E/M visits (99212-99214). Payments will increase from about $14-$41 to about $46-$110.
  • CMS expanded the list of services eligible to be reported via telehealth (link here)
  • CMS will permit reporting of telehealth E/M office or other outpatient visits based on time or Medical Decision Making (MDM).
  • The Qualified Healthcare Professionals that are eligible for telehealth has been expanded. Additional codes for these services were also added to the CMS telehealth list.
  • CMS has clarified that telehealth services are permitted with both new and established patients.
  • Physicians can reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits. In addition, all cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries is waived for COVID19 testing and visits related to the testing. Modifier CS – Cost sharing must be appended to these claims to ensure cost-sharing.
  • Physicians licensed in one state can provide services to Medicare beneficiaries in another state. State licensure laws still apply.
CMS Physician Fee look-up tool -  reimbursement rates by claim
Office of Civil Rights: Telehealth and HIPAA – allowing use of non-HIPAA compliant audio/video platforms like FaceTime, ZOOM, Skype
 
Tips/Notes:
Telephone only Codes: covered (during emergency only), limited to: 98966-98968; 99441-99443 
Virtual Check-in Codes covered, G2012; G2010 (5-10 min.)
Modifiers Add 95 for all telehealth services and usual POS code; Add CS for 100% reimbursement of Covid-19 testing E&M visits or virtual visits (whether or not testing was performed)
Patient Consent necessary - can be verbal
Prior authorization -  necessary only when necessary for in-person
 
Medicaid
DVHA Vermont Medicaid Payments for Telephonic Services During the Emergency to COVID-19 - Updated 4.9 Start with March 13, 2020 as the service date and March 23, 2020 as the claims date
 
Commercial
 
BCBSVT Open Codes for All Virtual Well Child Visits
BCBSVT has agreed to reverse a policy it had in place restricting reimbursement for virtual well-child care to children only over age 2 and will now cover virtual well-child care for all children regardless of age. This change will be retroactive and is due to advocacy led by the AAPVT Chapter in coordination with the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and the Vermont Medical Society. AAP reminds all pediatric clinicians about followingAAP guidelines for well visits during this time and in the future:
  • Well-child care should occur in person whenever possible.
  • Well-childcareshould be provided consistentwiththeBright Futures Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents(4thEdition)and the correspondingBright Futures/AAP Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care(Periodicity Schedule).
  • Well-child care should occur within the child’s medical home where continuity of care may be established and maintained.
  • Where community circumstances require pediatricians to limit in-person well visits:
  • Clinicians are encouraged to prioritize in-personnewborn care, and well visits and immunization of infants and young children (through 24 months of age) wheneverpossible.
  • Well visits for children may be conducted through telehealth, recognizing that some elements of the well exam should be completed in clinic once community circumstances allow.These elements include, at a minimum: the comprehensive physical exam; office testing, including laboratory testing; hearing, vision, and oral health screening; fluoride varnish; and immunizations.

(Up to the Top)

Legal
 
Practice Guidelines
AMA Guidance for Ethical Practice in Telemedicine
 
Technical Support/Misc.
NGS is available to answer Medicare Telehealth Billing Questions email KATHERINE.DUNPHY@anthem.com
Telemedicine Quick Set-up Guide in Response to COVID-19 National Emergency developed by Drs. Sylvia Romm, Adam Maghrabi, Tisha Rowe, Aditi Joshi

Caring for Our Caregivers


State Resources

 
VMS Weekly COVID-19 CALLS With VDH 
Tuesday, April 7th, 12:15-12:45pm

Please join VMS, for a weekly COVID-19 update from 12:15-12:45 pm hosted by Vermont Department of Health (VDH) Commissioner Mark Levine.
Join Skype Meeting 
Join by phone: Dial-in number: +1 (802) 552-8456        
Conference ID: 993815551
Forgot your dial-in PIN? |Help  

VT Practitioner and Licensing Resources

Vermont Physician License Renewal to Open in August; CME Requirement Reduced - June 9.2020

The license renewal process for physicians for the next biennium (Dec. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2020) will begin August, 2020 and will close at the end of November, 2020. As an acknowledgement of the cancellation of many CME programs and conferences and the many hours of professional development performed by licensees to learn about COVID-19, the Board of Medical Practice has reduced the CME requirement from 30 hours to 15 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, including 1 hour addressing palliative care, hospice care, OR pain management, and 2 hours addressing prescribing-controlled substances for physicians with DEA registrations. These three subject-specific activities count towards the 15-hour requirement (and cannot be waived by the Board as they are required by Vermont State statute).  Licensees who have not completed the 15-hour CME requirement may file ‘make-up plans’ along with their license renewal application. For online, free or low cost CME options,click here.For more information about license renewal, see theBoard of Medical Practice webpage.

 


Federal Resources


Open Enrollment Information for VT Patients 

Mental Health Facility Policies and Resources
Vermont Designated Agencies and Crisis Lines
Vermont’s designated and specialized service agencies are still here to help with mental health, substance use disorder and developmental services needs via video and phone. Clinical assessment, individual therapy, and 24/7 mental health crisis response – among other services – are all just a phone call away and are generally covered by your insurance, Medicaid, or other public funding. Find your local agency. Intake phone numbers and crisis lines are here.
 

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