Your Weekly News & Updates
MSNJ Member Update - COVID-19
March 23, 2020
Support for Community Based Medical Practices and Clinics
The Medical Society of New Jersey is requesting support for community based medical practices, facilities and clinics during the Emergency Order for COVID-19 response. Physician practices are under significant financial strain as they continue to provide routing medical care during the COVID-19 crisis. Maintaining access to necessary patient care is necessary to prevent existing health conditions to worsen thereby putting more strain on hospitals.

Keeping community based practices, care facilities, urgent care and clinics operating will provide more capacity at our severely stressed hospitals.

Virtual Visit Parity
All payers must pay for care delivered during a virtual visit at the same rate as an in person visit. The State of New Jersey and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have already taken this step. Self-funded ERISA plans must do the same.

Paying practices for care delivered virtually will accelerate the adoption of virtual care platforms and thereby increase social distancing while delivering necessary healthcare services to the community. Until more personal protective equipment becomes available, we should continue to support virtual visits.

Medical Malpractice
Coverage expansion should be accomplished to cover services delivered by telemedicine, telephone or other remote means. Medical Liability carriers should post explicit guidance to their insureds to provide increased flexibility in delivering healthcare services remotely to both existing and new patients during the course of COVID-19 emergency declaration and for a reasonable time after its conclusion.

Premium deferrals or forgiveness should be made to allow practices to reserve cash for continued operations for the next several months.

Ambulatory Care Facility Tax
New Jersey should defer the collection of the Ambulatory Care Facilities Tax for the remainder of 2020 and possibly beyond. This would allow non-hospital facilities to continue to fund operations, maintain staffing and to remain open and available to reduce pressure on hospitals. The Ambulatory Care Facilities tax is a substantial burden on operations as the centers reduce elective procedures.

Low Cost Loans
Low cost federal disaster loans are available to physician practices. NJ Small Business Development Center has links to various SBA COVID-19 forms .
New COVID-19 Resources and Updates
MSNJ Telehealth Webinar Series:
Part 2: Navigating Telehealth Reimbursement
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
While telehealth has become an acceptable means of delivering health care, how third party payers reimburse telehealth services vary depending on the payer. This webinar will explore the rules and regulations impacting telehealth reimbursement by the Medicare and Medicaid programs and highlight the reimbursement policies of national commercial health plans.
Governor Murphy’s Social Media Post Regarding Elective Surgeries:
“I just signed an Executive Order suspending ALL elective surgeries and invasive procedures for adults – both medical and dental – effective 5:00 PM on 3/27.
This applies to all operations that can be safely delayed, as determined by the patient’s doctor or dentist .
With the dramatic shortfall in personal protective equipment we face, it’s imperative that we work to strategically preserve supplies and equipment for emergency purposes only.” #FlattenTheCurve
OCR Enforcement Discretion Related to HIPAA - Update
Early last week, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notified covered entities, including physicians, that it would exercise enforcement discretion for physicians using telehealth. OCR has issued new FAQs on this notice. Additionally, SAMHSA has issued an FAQ on 42 CFR Part 2, seeking to ensure that substance use disorder treatment services are uninterrupted during this public health emergency. 
Quality Reporting Programs - Deadlines Extended
CMS announced it is granting exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for physicians participating in Medicare quality reporting programs with respect to upcoming measure reporting and data submission for those programs. The action comes as part of the Trump Administration’s response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Read more about the extensions. 
Request for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If anyone has additional PPE and medical supplies like N95 respirators, gowns, etc., please let us know so we can distribute to hospitals that are in desperate need of them.
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