HMA COVID Update
June 11, 2020
 
To Our Valued Clients and Partners,
 
This is our 12th COVID-19 update. The United States surpassed 2 million cases this week. Phased re-openings began several weeks ago in most states. Now, 19 states are seeing cases spike as summer begins and more people are congregating outdoors. Companies are eager to get back to work yet anxious about daunting new safety requirements and keeping their people healthy. We are in this with you and here to help.
 
Today's update topics include:
 
  • Return to work webinar series launched this week
  • COVID-19 updates to our website
  • Case counts increasing following phased re-openings
  • Trends we are seeing 

Return to work webinar series launched this week
We launched our Return to Work webinar series earlier today. Thank you to all who participated and for your great questions. Our friends from LabCorp provided a great overview of COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing science and they walked through their COVID-19 return to work screening and testing programs and recommendations for employers. If you missed it, we will post it by the end of next week here and provide a link on COVID-19 employer and broker update page of our website.
 
Our next webinar topic is COVID-19 Workplace Reintegration: Understanding and Managing Employee Emotions and Mental Health

COVID-19 is a mental health pandemic. In our May 15th COVID-19 Update we featured a section titled, Taking Care: An Emerging Mental and Behavioral Health Pandemic, calling attention to this very real issue our nation now faces. On June 3rd, Psychology Today published How COVID-19 is Impacting Mental Health . This article dives into the neuropsychiatric impacts that we can likely expect to see based on lessons from previous pandemic outcomes and early COVID-19 research.

People are struggling with anxiety, fatigue, depression, fear, and a litany of uncharted emotions during this pandemic. The cumulative toll on our mental health, relationships, and well-being is only starting to surface. Work reintegration adds another layer of complexity that no people manager, HR manager, or executive team has faced in our lifetime.

Join us from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PT on Thursday, June 25th where Cascade Center’s Caitlin Plato, MA, Counseling Psychology: Trauma & Recovery, and Linda Cole, MHA BSN OCN, Director, Member Care at HMA, will explore what companies and people managers can expect and how to help employees with the emotions of work reintegration.

Caitlin Plato , MA, Trauma & Recovery Counselor, Trainer, Cascade Centers, Portland, OR
Caitlin Plato earned her Master's degree in Counseling Psychology: Trauma & Recovery, from Arcadia University in Philadelphia and she is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She provides management consultation, organizational development training, as well as counseling on a broad range of topics. She specializes in trauma, addictions, depression, anxiety, communication skills, diversity training, and gender/LGBTQ related topics.

COVID-19 updates to our website
Have you visited our website lately? Our website has COVID-19 content for both members and employers/brokers. Just click on the COVID-19 banner at the top of our home page and then choose member, employer, or broker to view our latest updates and content. Our COVID-19 member updates page contains useful information and links to resources to address the most common member questions our Customer Care Advocates receive. Our COVID-19 employer/broker page includes the current edition of this update plus links to previous editions for your easy access.  

An update on provider personal protective equipment (PPE) surcharges 
In our May 29th edition, we shared that we are seeing dental providers adding a surcharge for PPE. Before COVID-19 providers typically did not submit claims for PPE. We analyzed the dental claims coming in and the average surcharge is less than $25. There are no-cost benchmarks and no coding standards for PPE in dental claims. For now, we have decided to cover reasonable PPE surcharges on dental claims and will monitor these surcharges over time. These PPE surcharges will be applied to the member’s preventive dental benefit and subject to the Plan’s maximum payable amount. 

Trends we are seeing
We continue to see a steady influx of COVID-19 testing claims. Additionally, we’ve seen a surge in the scheduling of elective procedures. Hospitals and outpatient surgical centers in most states are now opening and eager to fill their schedules to make up for lost revenue. We anticipate significant demand for elective and deferred medical procedures from August to December of this year. We also expect (and encourage) members who had to cancel regular preventive care visits to reschedule those appointments now.
 
We are keeping an eye on the increasing case counts across the Pacific Northwest and outbreaks in specific employment sectors as phased re-opening bring more employees back to work. We are working closely with clients affected by outbreaks and with clients as they evaluate their return to work strategies.
 
On June 3rd, the Oregon Health Authority reported the highest daily number of 177 new COVID-19 cases. Utah saw its highest average weekly and daily number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases yet with a peak on June 5th of 557 cases. This week, Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, extended the proclamation protecting high-risk workers through August 1st, 2020. Yakima County in Washington state has been identified as one of the national hot spots with 20% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases and only 3% of the state’s population. Whereas today, Idaho Governor Brad Little announced that Idaho will move to a Stage 4 Stay Healthy Order beginning this Saturday. Stage 4 allows for the re-opening of large venues and gatherings of groups of more than 50 people while maintaining social distancing.
 
We’re Here for You  
 
Our focus, dedication, and support remain steadfast as we navigate these unique times with you. Know that our Care Management nurses are reaching out to those members diagnosed with COVID-19 to help them access the care and resources they need to recover safely. Thank you for your continued trust in our organization. We are in this with you and hope that you and yours stay safe and healthy. Please reach out to your Account Manager if you have any questions or if there’s anything we can do to help. 
 
Best Regards,
 
Lindsay Harris
Interim President and Chief Growth Officer
HMA - Proving What’s Possible in Healthcare ®