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On March 23, 2020, the New York State (NYS) Department of Health issued updated guidance regarding use of telehealth by Medicaid providers, Comprehensive Guidance Regarding Use of Telehealth including Telephonic Services During the COVID-19 State of Emergency (Medicaid Update March 23, 2020 Vol 36, Number 5) (Guidance), which replaces previously issued guidance regarding telehealth and telephonic communication services during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. This summary addresses only the highlights of the Guidance,…
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) into law. The CARES Act contains several provisions affecting healthcare benefits and the expansion of telehealth services. Notably, the new law provides temporary relief for telehealth and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP), allowing coverage for telehealth services without plan member cost before plan members’ deductibles are met. These changes come at the heels of OIG’s announcement…
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Congress has enacted three laws—the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the CARES Act—that authorize unprecedented levels of funding to support the health care industry. While some of these authorizations build upon existing networks of grants and contracts, much of the appropriated funding grants significant discretion to federal agencies to allocate and distribute the money. Many…
On March 22, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-09 to increase health care and hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order states that “all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who with immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be…
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed by the President on March 27, 2020, includes several provisions affecting group health plans, as discussed below.  Health Plan Rules and Relief Coverage for In-Network and Out-of-Network Coronavirus Testing As discussed in our previous article addressing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), FFCRA requires group health plans to cover coronavirus testing without any cost-sharing (i.e., deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance) imposed on…
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed by the Senate on March 25, 2020 would make fundamental changes to the federal law, 42 U.S.C. § 290dd-2, implemented at 42 C.F.R. Part 2 that governs the confidentiality of substance-use disorder records (Part 2).  Most critically, the CARES Act would dramatically ease the ability of health care providers to share protected substance-use disorder information with patient consent, going far beyond both the finalized…
Patients with COVID-19 may develop respiratory illness, distress, and insufficiency and may require respiratory devices including ventilators, anesthesia gas masks, and other devices to support their treatment. However, with the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. increasing daily, there is growing concern that the supply of respiratory devices to treat patients with COVID-19 is insufficient to meet demand. On March 22, 2020, the FDA issued guidance entitled “Enforcement Policy for Ventilators and Accessories
On March 17, 2020, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Declaration energizing the PREP Act, which provides legal immunity for manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and administrators of qualified products and processes used to fight COVID-19. As discussed below, this Declaration provides certain important protections to encourage innovation and expedience, but it also includes qualifying criteria and exceptions that must be considered and evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine…
To further relax strict compliance with certain health care practice statutes and rules that could prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Florida Surgeon General, Scott Rivkees, M.D., of the Florida Department of Health (DOH), issued Emergency Order 20-003 (Order) on March 21, 2020. This Order should be read in conjunction with other recently issued emergency orders, including Emergency Order 20-002. Health care providers should familiarize themselves with…
On March 13, 2020, the President declared the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the U.S. a national emergency. The President’s declaration, coupled with Section 1135 (of the Social Security Act) waivers issued by the Secretary of the Department Health and Human Services (HHS) on the same day, empowered the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to waive certain requirements in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act. Specifically, as…