February 2021
AMA analysis shows Medicare spending patterns upended by COVID-19 pandemic
Medicare spending on physician services declined an estimated $9.4 billion between January and June 2020, according to a new report by American Medical Association. “Changes in Medicare Physician Spending During the COVID-19 Pandemic” analyzed Medicare claims data exclusive to physician services and found spending dropped as much as 57 percent below expected pre-pandemic levels in April of 2020. Medicare spending on physician services partially recovered from the April low but was still 12 percent less than expected by the end of June 2020. During the first half of 2020, the cumulative estimated reduction in Medicare physician spending associated with the pandemic was $9.4 billion (19 percent). Read more here.
Federal government increases Medicare payment for COVID-19 vaccine
Effective for COVID-19 vaccines administered on or after March 15, 2021, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has increased the national average payment rate for physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and many other immunizers to $40 per each dose. This represents an increase from approximately $28 to $40 for the administration of single-dose vaccines and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. The exact payment rate for administration of each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will depend on the type of entity that furnishes the service and will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished. Read more here.
Novitas webinar: Billing and coding for COVID-19 vaccine, treatment
Novitas Solutions will host an informative webinar on Friday, March 19, at 8 a.m. MT, to share information about billing and coding for the COVID-19 vaccine and mAb infusion administration. This educational session will include the guidelines for billing COVID-19 vaccines and mAb infusions. Speakers will review the process for enrollment to bill for the COVID-19 vaccine and mAb infusion and outline available resources to assist in providing these services during the public health emergency. Visit the Novitas COVID-19 resource pages for additional information. Visit their calendar of events to register for this event.
AMA resource: Find your COVID-19 Vaccine CPT® Codes
Determine the appropriate CPT code combination for the type and dose of COVID-19 vaccine you are using with the American Medical Association's Find Your COVID-19 Vaccine CPT Codes tool. These codes incorporate the specialized tracking needs of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (federal CMS) by identifying two code groups. One group identifies a specific vaccine product and the other provides a vaccine administration code that is both vaccine and dose specific. It is important to select the code that has been created for that manufacturer’s vaccine.
Colorado QPP Coalition Fast Facts - March
The Colorado Quality Payment Program (COQPP) Coalition has released Fast Facts for March. Fast Facts is a compilation of helpful resources in quality improvement that takes roughly five minutes to read.

Access March Fast Facts here for information on the following items.
  • Federal CMS to apply MIPS Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Policy for the 2020 performance period in response to COVID-19; reopens application
  • The MIPS 2020 data submission period is now open
  • 2021 Quality Payment Program COVID-19 response
  • MIPS value pathways
  • APM performance pathway

Bonus: NEW Resource – MIPS Quality Payment Program Resource Guide. This new resource is intended to be a desktop resource for locating newly updated or created QPP Resources.

In case you missed them: Access January 2021 COQPP Fast Facts here and February 2021 COQPP Fast Facts here.
HHS: Resources for mental health and substance use disorder
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, about four in 10 adults nationwide have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder – a four-fold increase from pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, substance use has increased. Related:

PPE available through ActionPPE
Use CMS's discount code for 5% off total order
Order your next round of PPE through ActionPPE.org, which has partnered with the Colorado Medical Society to give physicians access to medical-grade PPE supplies. Available products are KN95 or disposable tri-fold masks, disposable gowns, face shields, nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer. Place your order through the CMS order form here -- actionppe.org/3/cms/. Use discount code cms-save5 for 5 percent off all orders through the order link.
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