COVID-19 Update – April 10, 2020
Financial Assistance for Physician Practices and Hotels for Caregivers

As of April 10, there are 766 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alameda County and 20 deaths (including City of Berkeley information). As of April 10, there are 511 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County and 9 deaths. Please check  www.accma.org/COVID-19   for the latest updates.   
CMS Provides $51 Billion to Medicare Providers with the Accelerated/Advance Payment Program in One Week  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today it has now delivered more than $51 billion in advance payments to health care providers to ensure they have the resources they need to combat this pandemic. 
 
These funds are part of the expanded  accelerated and advance payment program  for participating Medicare providers and suppliers to lessen the financial hardships of providers facing extraordinary challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Accelerated and advance Medicare payments provide emergency funding and address cash flow issues based on historical payments when there is disruption in claims submission and/or claims processing. 
 
Processing times for an advance Medicare payment is now four to six days, down from the previous timeframe of three to four weeks. In a little over a week, CMS has already approved over 21,000 of the 32,000 requests it received from health care providers and suppliers seeking accelerated and advance payments. Prior to COVID-19, CMS had approved just over 100 total requests in the past five years, with most being tied to natural disasters such as hurricanes. 
 
California physicians can submit an advance payment request to  Noridian , California's Medicare contractor. Providers can request 100% of their historical Medicare payment amount for a three-month period.  
 
Repayment of the advance payments begins 120 days after the issuance of the advance payment. Physicians have 210 days from the issuance of the advance payment to repay the entire balance due to CMS. These advance payments currently carry a 10.25% interest rate that the California Medical Association (CMA) and American Medical Association are working to reverse in Congress’ next COVID-19 response legislation. 
Hotels for Caregivers
  
On Thursday, Gov. Newsom announced that California would begin providing hotel vouchers to health care workers and to frontline providers to allow them to treat COVID-19 patients without risk of exposing their own families or loved ones.  
 
The program will prioritize health care workers who come in direct contact with or are suspected of having direct contact with COVID-19 patients, or who test positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospitalization. By providing hotel rooms in close proximity to medical facilities, health care workers can avoid potentially spreading the virus once leaving their shift by selecting to stay in one of the pre-identified hotels across the state. 
 
“California is fighting to protect those who are protecting us,” said Governor Newsom. “Health care workers are the heroes of this moment. As we ramp up the workforce to meet the demand we are also stepping up to help keep our workers’ families safe by providing hotels as temporary housing options.” 
 
Starting April 10, California Health Corps workers will be able to make reservations through the Department of General Services (DGS) CalTravelStore. 
 
To view the full press release,  click here .  

Alameda County EMS has released information regarding availability of hotel rooms for healthcare workers in Alameda County.
Federal Government Announces New Financial Assistance Programs  
  
The federal government announced new measures on Thursday aimed at helping small and medium sized businesses – including physician practices – through the COVID-19 crisis. 
 
The Federal Reserve announced a $2.3 trillion spending package, including $500 million to state and local governments, to help offset the delay in local tax receipts caused by the deferral of the tax filing deadline. California has delayed its income tax filing deadline to July 15 and many counties are delaying collection of property tax payments, which were originally due by April 10. 
 
The Fed’s new Main Street Lending Program will provide $600 billion in loans for medium sized businesses with less than 10,000 employees or revenues less than $2.5 billion.  
 
The four-year loans would allow for interest deferred payments for a year and would be at least $1 million in size. Under the program, banks will retain a 5% share of the loan and sell the remaining 95% to a facility to be set up by the Fed. 
 
Congress is working to quickly pass a new package within the week. Senate Republicans failed to pass a bill today on unanimous consent to provide an additional $250 billion into the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers low-interest loans to small businesses because Democrats want the legislation to also include an additional $250 billion in extra money for hospitals, physicians, state and local governments, and food stamp recipients. A compromise is expected. Once more information is published, additional details on the Federal Reserve program will be made available on our  website .  
 
To view CMA’s full press release,  click here .  
PPE and Supplies - County Request Forms

The following is information about placing orders for PPE and other medical support through County resource allocation processes:


  • Contra Costa County: All Resource Requests should be submitted using the attached “CCCHS Request Form. If requesting PPE, must also complete attached “Medical/Health Items Provider Questionnaire" (found on the first page of the CCCHS Request Form). These forms should be submitted directly to the CCHS DOC Logistics Section at doc.logistics@cchealth.org. Per CCHS, you should first work within your vendors and systems first before sending requests to the DOC.
CMA Releases Financial Impact Survey

CMA has released a survey requesting input on the financial impact COVID-19 has had on physician practices. If you have not already completed the survey, please take a minute to submit your response no later than April 15, 2020.
Tips for Physicians to Protect Themselves and Their Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
 
Click here for tips on what to do before going to work, at work, and after work/coming home to protect yourself and your family. Tips include how to create a hot zone (contaminated area) near your home entrance and how to take care of your skin. Courtesy of the TPMG Diablo Health and Wellness Team.  
Complimentary Peer Discussion Groups
 
RechargedMD  is offering ACCMA members  complimentary online peer discussion and coaching specifically for physicians. With the guidance of a certified physician coach, physicians can receive and offer support, as well as learn from one another. Small groups will meet beginning on April 25 for 45 minutes per week for three facilitated sessions. Go to  rechargedmd.com/covid19support
ACCMA Resources Toolkit
 
The ACCMA has put together a free toolkit of resources that address the day-to-day needs of East Bay physicians of all career stages and in all modes of practice, from food and grocery delivery services to exercises that can be done at home. Click here to access and download the toolkit.  
Upcoming Webinars
Thursday, April 16, 2020 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM | FREE

During this COCA Call, presenters will provide an overview of the importance of mortality data, discuss the NCHS publication and the guidance it provides to clinicians who may need to certify a death involving COVID-19, and present a summary of COVID-19 surveillance through the NVSS.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM | FREE

This one-hour webinar led by Linda Hawes Clever, MD, MACP, will offer practical, creative, and effective remedies to deal with the crush on personal and professional lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will start with some strategies, resources, and suggestions and then quickly evolve to questions and answers, as we listen and see the ingenuity, guts, and devotion with which we are addressing the harrowing challenges we all face as a profession, community, and nation. Participants will discover how to r educe personal stress and learn healthy ways to contend with the impact of COVID-19.

You are encouraged to submit questions in advance to help her address the range of clinician concerns and responses to the crisis. And you can also briefly share any personal tips and practices that are helping you during this difficult time. Please send your questions and comments to ccaufield.renew@gmail.com.
Questions/Concerns?  

Please contact ACCMA at 510-654-5383 or accma@accma.org with any questions or concerns you have. Although we may not currently have an immediate answer to all questions, we want to know the information and resources that you need to continue to provide care for our community during this difficult time.  
 
This information will also be posted online at www.accma.org/COVID-19 and will be updated frequently. Please check the ACCMA website regularly for updates.