COVID-19 Update – April 28, 2020
HHS Reimbursements, SAMHSA Grants, DHCS Flexibilities

As of April 28, there are 1,533 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alameda County and 55 deaths (including City of Berkeley information). As of April 28, there are 842 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County and 25 deaths. Please check   for the latest updates.   
HHS Launches COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal 

New COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal, allowing health care providers who have conducted COVID-19 testing or provided treatment for uninsured COVID-19 individuals on or after February 4, 2020 to submit claims for reimbursement. Providers can access the portal at
SAMHSA Awards Grants Expanding Community-Based Behavioral Health Services, Strengthens COVID-19 Response 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) new funding swill help certified community behavioral health clinics continue to treat Americans with substance use disorders and mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fiscal Year 2020 CCBHC Expansion Grants include $200 million in annually appropriated funding and $250 million in emergency COVID-19 funding. Read more about the funding here .
DHCS Announces Prior Authorization Flexibilities and Emergency Coverage for Medi-Cal Patients

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently made important changes to the  prior authorization process  and billing for  COVID-19-related emergency services  to ensure that all Medi-Cal patients will have access to medically necessary COVID-19 testing and treatment.

Coverage of Emergency COVID-19 Related Services:

Emergency services are covered for all Medi-Cal patients, including undocumented beneficiaries, when necessary to treat an emergency medical condition.

During the ongoing public health emergency, DHCS is deeming COVID-19 testing and related medically necessary treatment services to be emergency services. There is no copay for emergency services including testing, evaluation and treatment for COVID-19.

When billing emergency COVID-19 testing and treatment service in an office/outpatient setting physicians should:

  1. Report Emergency Indicator=Y in field 24C of the CMS-1500 form
  2. Report Emergency indicator=81 on the UB 04 form
  3. Indicate emergency treatment on the claim and include “PATIENT IMPACTED BY COVID-19” in box 19 of the claim form
  4. Use ICD-10 U07.1 as the primary diagnosis code.
  5. Include relevant clinical information about the patient condition and why the emergency services rendered were considered immediately necessary. 

CMA asked DHCS for clarity on how physicians can comply with the requirement to include relevant clinical information about the patient’s condition and why the emergency services were immediately necessary. DHCS advised that including the appropriate COVID-19 diagnosis code, documenting the emergency condition in the medical record and complying with existing signature requirements on the claim form will ensure compliance. 

Treatment Authorization Flexibilities:

Although Treatment Authorization Requests (TAR) are still required during the public health emergency, TARs can be submitted after services have been rendered. Providers should put “PATEINT IMPACTED BY COVID-19” in the “miscellaneous information” field on the TAR. TARs with this designation will be expedited and approved as appropriate. Physicians must still submit supporting documentation to justify the need or medical necessity and maintain documentation of medical necessity in the patient’s medical file.

For TARs that are already authorized, providers can extend the “through date” if needed through the eTAR system. Physicians should put “PATIENT IMPACTED BY COVID-19” the “miscellaneous information” field.

Questions regarding COVID-19 billing can be directed to DHCS at (800) 541-5555.
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, .
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 and scrolling to "COVID-19 Volunteer Opportunities" for application instructions.
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
April 30, 2020 | 12:00 PM PT
Presented by UCSF Department of Psychiatry
April 30, 2020 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM
Presented by the California Medical Association

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many physicians have either closed their practices or greatly curtailed in-person office visits. With the proper safety precautions, physicians may now be in a place to carefully reopen their doors to patients or expand available service offerings. This can help ensure that patients receive needed care and improve practice viability. This webinar will present best practices for physicians who are looking to reopen, in order to keep physicians and their patients safe. The webinar will include a discussion of CMA's “Guidelines and Recommendations for Reopening the Health Care System.”
The webinar will also include a case study of a small physician practice that is currently implementing CMA's reopening recommendations.
May 01, 2020 | 9:00 AM PT
Presented by Joe Keenan, MBA, CSP with Pioneer Educator

OSHA has released Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which provides specific action steps employers should take to address the global pandemic. With the virus spreading and disrupting operations throughout the United States, organizations must promptly assess their employees’ exposure risks, adapt their business operations to incorporate social distancing practices, and take steps to protect at-risk employees with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Available On-Demand

This one-hour, on-demand webinar led by Linda Hawes Clever, MD, MACP, offers practical, creative, and effective remedies to deal with the crush on personal and professional lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. It contains strategies, resources, and suggestions for handling physician wellness, as well as addressing 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. Discover how to reduce personal stress and learn healthy ways to contend with the impact of COVID-19.

Please contact ACCMA at 510-654-5383 or 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 and will be updated frequently. Please check the ACCMA website regularly for updates.