Your Weekly News & Updates
MSNJ Member COVID-19 Update
April 13, 2020
COVID-19 Breaking News Alert
New Directives and Guidelines Passed By NJ Department of Health & NJ Attorney General's Office
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is pushing healthcare systems to their limits. Providers may soon be forced to make very tough decisions when it comes to care - whether to withdraw or withhold certain types of treatment, take treatments from some patients and provide them to others, etc.

MSNJ's Bio-medical Ethics Committee created a framework in late March and submitted the document for review to the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH).

New Jersey DOH then convened a panel of medical experts to advise the State on the difficult ethical questions that New Jersey may face during this pandemic. Those efforts resulted in DOH’s publication on April 11, 2020, of Allocation of Critical Care Resources During a Public Health Emergency , a model policy for health care facilities that may confront those difficult questions.

On April 11, 2020, the following directives and guidelines were ordered:
  1. All health care facilities in New Jersey that possess mechanical ventilators for the care of all patients requiring use of such ventilators must determine whether to adopt a written policy to govern the allocation of mechanical ventilators during the public health emergency arising from COVID-19. Such a policy may, in addition, govern the allocation of other scarce medical resources.
  2. A health care facility that adopts the Department of Health's model policy Allocation of Critical Care Resources During a Public Health Emergency, as well as the health care facility's agents, officers, employees, servants, representatives and volunteers, shall not be civilly liable for any damages arising from an injury to a patient caused by any act or omission pursuant to, and consistent with, such policy. Such immunity supplements any other immunities and defenses that may apply.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
Emergency Fund Disbursements
This morning the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the immediate disbursement of the first $30 billion out of the $100 billion that Congress allocated to hospitals, physicians and other health care providers in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The distribution policy adopted by HHS reflects the recommendations from organized medicine made to Secretary Azar by the AMA and 137 medical societies, MSNJ included, earlier this week. However, it is not exactly what was initially proposed - in part, the difference stems from the administration's approach of first disbursing $30 billion and later determining how the remainder of the funds will be allocated.

This initial $30 billion is being directed to hospitals and physician practices in direct proportion to their share of Medicare fee-for-service spending. All facilities and health professionals that billed Medicare FFS in 2019 are eligible for the funds. These are grants, not loans, and do not have to be repaid.

Additional details about the allocation are available here
New AMA COVID-19 Resources
The AMA just unveiled two new COVID-19 resources for physicians and practices. Details on each resource is listed below:
  • The AMA just released a resource to help physicians and practice staff track the rapidly evolving prior authorization policy changes health plans and PBMs are making in response to COVID-19.  The AMA will be regularly updating this resource to stay current with payers’ policy changes.
  • The AMA has updated its COVID-19 coding guidance document to reflect the most recent information released by CMS. The document has been expanded to now outline 18 different treatment scenarios and recommended coding for each.
Medici Connect (Formerly DocbookMD) Now Offering Virtual Care
DocbookMD, now Medici Connect, is now offering a virtual care platform that lets physicians consult with patients via secure voice, video and text. To access this product you will need to update from DocbookMD to Medici. If you are previously registered for DocbookMD, your account is already verified. An email was sent to physicians already registered with a unique link. Follow the instructions in the email from DocbookMD. Not registered? Click here .
MSNJ Member News
Congrats to MSNJ Health Policy Fellowship Intern appointed to AMA Council on the Long Range Planning and Development
Priya S. Kantesaria, (Rutgers New Jersey Medical School) has been appointed as the student member of the AMA Council on the Long Range Planning and Development. Ms. Kantesaria was MSNJ’s Health Policy Fellowship Intern in 2018 and was a member of the Medical Student Section of the MSNJ AMA Delegation. Congratulations, Priya!
The Medical Society of New Jersey has launched our new MSNJ Supports Our Docs campaign in order to share some positive news during the #COVID19 crisis. We want to hear the extraordinary stories of acts of kindness, compassionate care and service above and beyond the call of duty from our members and followers.

To contribute , e-mail your stories to info@msnj.org or post your stories on your social media channels with the unique hashtag #MSNJSupportsDocs . We will then share these stories of hope and inspiration on our social media channels as appropriate. We thank you in advance for your participation!
Call for Assistance Applying for Federal Disaster Relief Loans
We’ve been getting many calls from members to assist with federal disaster relief application processes. We are here to help! If you need assistance, please let us know.

Contact MSNJ using our contact form .
Retired Medical Doctors and Medical Students Urged to Volunteer
The State of New Jersey is requesting help of retired Medical Doctors and Medical Students to volunteer to supplement the health care capacity on a temporary basis in regards to COVID-19. If you are healthy and able to provide medical care, you can sign-up using MSNJ's form , below:
The AMA issued new guidance for retired physicians who are being recruited to help healthcare systems overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
Education
Harvard Medical School COVID-19 CME Video Series
Recorded Videos:
Rockpointe/Potomac Center for Medical Center & MedChi On-Demand CME:
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