March 2020
Join CMS for a virtual town hall meeting on coronavirus tonight, Wednesday, March 18, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
The Colorado Medical Society will host a virtual town hall meeting tonight, Wednesday, March 18, 6 - 7:30 p.m., for physicians and practices to engage directly with CMS and other key state stakeholders to get support and answers, and get and share advice with colleagues. Plan to join us live or watch an archived recording on our website. Register here.

The town hall will be moderated by CMS President David Markenson, MD, MBA. Confirmed panelists are: Rachel Herlihy, MD, MPH, CDPHE State Epidemiologist; Melanie Simons, CDPHE Public Health Emergency Preparedness/Medical Countermeasures Program Manager; Christopher A. Czaja, MD, MPH, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist; and Lisa Latts, MD, MD, MSPH, MBA, FACP, CDPHE Chief Medical Officer.
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COVID-19 triggers federal changes to telehealth restrictions
The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that, effective immediately, they will not impose penalties on physicians using telehealth in the event of noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Read more here.

Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that Medicare has expanded telehealth coverage and will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.  Read more here.
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AMA announces new CPT code to report novel coronavirus test
The American Medical Association announced that the CPT Editorial Panel approved a new addition to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set that will help streamline data-driven resource and allocation planning in the battle against the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the United States. For quick reference, the new Category I CPT code and long descriptor are: 87635 - Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), amplified probe technique.  Read more here.
Federal CMS announces COVID-19 test pricing
On March 5 and Feb. 13, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (federal CMS) announced new Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes for health care providers and laboratories to test patients for SARS-CoV2. Starting in April, laboratories performing the test can bill Medicare and other health insurers for services that occurred after Feb. 4, 2020, using the newly created HCPCS code (U0001). This code is only to be used for the tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Laboratories performing non-CDC laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2/2019-
nCoV (COVID-19) can bill for them using a different HCPCS code (U0002).  Read more here.
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AMA: COVID-19 resource center
The American Medical Association has created a COVID-19 Resource Center, a curation of comprehensive CDC, JAMA and WHO resources, that will quickly help physicians prepare their practices, address patient concerns and answer the most pressing questions.  Access it here. Bookmark this page for accurate information on how to prevent, diagnose and treat the virus as it will be regularly updated.
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CMS joins other organizations representing health care workers and facilities in letter to governor
The Colorado Medical Society joined the American College of Physicians - Colorado Chapter, Colorado Hospital Association, Colorado Nurses Association and Colorado Rural Health Center in urging Gov. Jared Polis to issue a call to the public and measures to support health care workers. The top-line message: Urge individuals in the general public to stay home. Avoid gatherings of any size through social distancing, and stay home except for necessities. Additionally, issue clear and concise guidance for clinics facing personal protective equipment shortages, clarify outpatient setting testing protocols and communications to doctors, and take additional measures to support health care workers such as child care, mental health services and supporting caring for ill family members.

A follow-up letter from CMS President David Markenson, MD, MBA, sent March 17 asked the governor to remove barriers to the increased utilization of telehealth; issue clear, actionable guidance for clinics facing PPE shortages; prioritize COVID-19 testing for physicians and other health care providers; and provide more detailed guidance to retired physicians about how to step up. Read the letter here.
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