COVID-19 Update – April 22, 2020
Federal Financial Relief, NIH Guidelines

As of April 22, there are 1,280 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alameda County and 45 deaths (including City of Berkeley information). As of April 22, there are 763 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County and 22 deaths. Please check  www.accma.org/COVID-19   for the latest updates.   
Senate Approves Additional Financial Relief for Physician Practices

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan “Interim Economic Relief” agreement that contains $485 billion in new COVID-19 pandemic funding assistance. This bill contains an additional $75 billion specifically earmarked for physicians and hospitals, $310 billion for small businesses, as well as $25 billion for COVID-19 testing. The U.S. House of Representatives will take up the legislation on Thursday. With the package expected to pass tomorrow, physicians are encouraged to contact their banks/lenders as soon as possible to ensure they are in line for the new funding once approved.

The legislation includes an additional $310 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), after the program exhausted the original $350 billion in funding within two weeks. PPP loans are forgivable if physicians spend 75% of the loan on payroll. $50 billion is set aside for the existing SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and another $10 billion in EIDL Advance Grants that do not need to be repaid. (For more information on these programs, see  CMA’s COVID-19 Financial Toolkit for Medical Practices .)

The legislation also requires a national strategic plan for testing that will focus on increasing testing capacity, including testing supplies. The $25 billion is specifically intended for research, development, validation, manufacture, purchase and expanded capacity for COVID-19 tests. $11 billion of this funding is set-aside for states.
NIH Releases COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released  guidelines regarding treatment options for COVID-19. These guidelines will be frequently updated as authoritative information becomes available.
Physicians Can Apply NOW for Financial Support from Blue Shield of CA

Blue Shield of California recently announced it would be providing $200 million in direct support to physician practices and other health care providers. Today, the payor started accepting applications for the support, which will be offered in a number of categories:

  1. Loans: Blue Shield is providing up to $100 million in in provider loans. Loan amounts must not exceed $2 million.
  2. Advance Payments: Blue Shield is providing up to $100 million in advance payments for contracted Blue Shield providers. There is a grace period of six months and must be repaid in full by 12 months either directly or through offset of future claims.
  3. Value-Based/Risk Sharing Contracts: Physicians can convert their contracts to value-based contracts (where available) or risk sharing contracts, which provide a monthly base revenue stream.

Providers can also opt to receive the patient cost-sharing portion of the bill at the time the claim is paid, eliminating the time and expense of collecting patient out-of-pocket costs. ACCMA is encouraging physicians to apply as soon as possible, as available funding is limited. For more information and to apply for the programs, email  Financecommunication@blueshieldca.com  
ACCMA & CMA COVID-19 Resource Toolkits
 
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.

To help physicians understand the rapidly evolving personnel and other employment-related issues during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the California Medical Association has published the  CMA COVID-19 Toolkit for Physician Employers . This resource is free to all and available on CMA’s COVID-19 resource page,  cmadocs.org/covid-19 .
Intuit Aid Assist - Financial Assistance Resource

Intuit Aid Assist  is a free service that allows businesses, self-employed, contractors, and others to understand and access different business relief programs. Individuals and businesses can complete a loan eligibility assessment to see if they qualify for any federal funding programs.
Alameda & Contra Costa County Recruiting Physicians for COVID-19

East Bay physicians can support COVID-19 response efforts through paid and/or voluntary service opportunities through the Alameda County, Contra Costa County, or the State of California. Please visit accma.org/COVID-19 and scrolling to "COVID-19 Volunteer Opportunities" for application instructions.
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
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.    
Upcoming Webinars
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM | FREE
Registration open until 5:30 PM, April 22.

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 cca u fi e ld .renew@gmail.com.
Thursday, April 23, 2020 | 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM | FREE
Presented by the California Medical Association

The webinar will be presented by Chris Bell and Georgia Green of Moss Adams, a leading accounting, consulting and wealth management firm with over 250 professionals dedicated to the health care industry. The California Medical Association (CMA) will also provide an overview of its advocacy efforts to sustain the financial viability of medical practices. 
Thursday, April 23, 2020 | 4:00 PM PST | FREE

Leaders from the nation’s public health institutions illuminate the ways in which COVID-19 may uniquely impact public health, the health of minoritized and marginalized public health leaders, communities of color and patients experiencing inequities.

The panel will be moderated by AMA Chief Health Equity Officer Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH.  Tune in live on YouTube .
Friday, April 24, 2020 | 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM | FREE

Join a panel discussion with three physicians who successfully transitioned to using Telemedicine in their practices. To register , please click here and complete the form at the bottom of the page. Please note that completion of the form will register you for the whole Telemedicine series, so if you are interested in attending more than one webinar, please only submit the form once.

Panelists:  
Marc Dean, MD 
Uli K. Chettipally, MD 
Richard Thorp, MD
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.