Weekly Roundup: In Case You Missed It
COVID-19 By the Numbers (as of 7/31/20):

  • Alameda County: 11,131 confirmed cases, 182 deaths (including City of Berkeley data)
  • Contra Costa County: 7,577 confirmed cases, 116 deaths
  • California: 493,588 confirmed cases, 9,005 deaths (as of 7/30/20)
  • US: 4,405,932 cases; 150,283 deaths
Free Small Group Therapy Sessions
The ACCMA is sponsoring small group psychotherapy sessions for physicians to learn how best to care for yourself while you care for others . As a participant, you will join a group of 3-8 physicians to meet with a vetted mental health clinician who has experience working with physicians. Groups will meet for up to six sessions, at no cost to participants . Sessions are completely confidential and private, and can focus on all aspects of your mental health, not just practice-related stress. Learn mindfulness practices to handle stress in your daily life, build your self-care and resiliency acumen, build a peer support network with the help of a vetted mental health clinician, and more.    

If you are interested in signing up for the free small group psychotherapy sessions, please visit accma.org/Sponsored-Psychotherapy and contact the clinicians directly. Sessions are completely free and open to all physicians and residents in the East Bay, as well as Napa and Solano counties, including both members and non-members.  

County News

The ACCMA partnered with the California Medical Association and the State of California to provide physician practices with FREE medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) kits , including N95 and surgical masks, gowns, gloves, and face shields. The ACCMA worked with CMA to distribute over 350 PPE kits to East Bay physician practices this past week, and are expecting to distribute another 200 PPE kits next week. Practices who signed up to receive PPE kits should have received an email regarding pickup date, time, location, and confirmation of the order. If you did not receive a confirmation email, please contact the CMA Member Services directly for help: (800) 786-4262 or memberservice@cmadocs.org.

Contra Costa County Health Services updated their " Contra Costa County Openings At a Glance " PDF. Many outdoor activities have been permitted to reopen, however, all bars, breweries, pubs, distilleries, (including outdoors) and many other indoor businesses have been required to close.

The City of Berkeley released a Health Alert regarding an update to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s clinical guidance on the discontinuation of isolation of individuals with COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings. The guidance recommends returning to work based on symptoms, such as resolution of fever, rather than a test-based strategy to determine when to discontinue home isolation.
COVID-19 Testing and Guidelines

On July 28, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) took regulatory action to expand data reporting requirements for providers and laboratories in order to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on diverse communities. These new regulations require providers to collect patients' race, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation. These requirements apply to all reportable diseases, not just COVID-19.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that payment is available for physicians and health care providers who counsel patients at the time of COVID-19 testing about the importance of self-isolation prior to the onset of symptoms. CMS will use existing evaluation and management (E/M) payment codes to reimburse providers who are eligible to bill CMS for counseling services no matter where a test is administered.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) renewed the public health emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency declaration will now last until at least October 23, 2020.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) announced agreements with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to support advanced development including clinical trials and large-scale manufacturing of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 investigational adjuvanted vaccine .

Starting August 1, CMS is implementing new procedure codes to allow Medicare and other insurers to identify the use of the therapeutics remdesivir and convalescent plasma for treating hospital in-patients with COVID-19. These new codes will enable CMS to conduct real-time research to explore how these drugs are working and provide critical information on their effectiveness and how they can protect patients.
In Other News

The California Medical Association (CMA) is launching a new 12-part telehealth series for small- and medium-sized practices. The series will take place over the next 6 months and will cover all aspects of incorporating telehealth into medical practices, but will focus on the use of telehealth in Medi-Cal.

CMA is also working with the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), in partnership with the California Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA) and Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California (OPSC), to host a monthly Virtual Grand Rounds series on the evolution of COVID-19 and management of COVID-19 patients. The second monthly session will take place on Tuesday, August 11 at 12:00 PM and will focus on the state of the pandemic, children, and opening schools.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the application deadline for the “targeted distribution” funds for Medicaid-dependent providers . Physicians wishing to apply should do so by August 3, 2020.
What We're Reading - COVID-19 Resources and Guidance
FREE | Tuesday, August 11 | 12:00 - 1 :30 PM
Presented by the California Medical Association

COVID-19 affects children differently. As schools attempt to reopen, the dynamics of COVID-19 in children is top of mind for clinicians, parents, educators and policymakers. Physicians are being asked to serve as experts in local decisions around reopening schools. The speakers will review the latest data on children and COVID-19, including symptoms, patterns of disease and disease transmission, clinical presentation and management of pediatric syndromes like MIS-C, testing, etc. Register Now .
FREE | Thursday, August 13 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM
Presented by the California Medical Assoc iation

The California Medical Association is launching a new 12-part webinar series – Telehealth for Small and Medium Sized Practices. The 12 presentations will take place over the next six months, and will cover all aspects of implementing telehealth in a medical practice – selecting a platform, reimbursement rules and patient interactions. The webinar series will have an emphasis on the use of telehealth in Medi-Cal.
The first webinar in the series will provide a general overview of telehealth, including changes that have been implemented by federal and state regulators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation will also cover proper documentation of telehealth visits. Register Now .
FREE | Thursday, August 20 | 12:15 - 1:15 PM
Presented by the California Medic al Association

This webinar will provide an update on federal actions to aid physician practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics will include the latest congressional COVID-19 relief bill, the HHS Provider Relief Fund, and the Paycheck Protection Program.
Participants will also hear about the California Medical Association's federal COVID-19 advocacy. CMA is strongly advocating for additional funding to protect the public health and sustain the financial viability of physician practices.  Register Now .
ACCMA's On-Demand Library

FREE | Available On-Demand
On June 13, the ACCMA hosted its first Virtual Telehealth Vendor Fair. Telehealth vendors from across California and the Nation showcased their products and services so members can evaluate what solutions will work best in their practice. Vendors include Decoded Health, Doctorgram, TigerConnect, Updox, and VSee.

FREE | Available On-Demand | CME Available
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. 

FREE | Available On-Demand | CME Available
Telehealth services are expanding rapidly during the COVID-19 crisis. In partnership with Bay Area medical associations, the ACCMA teamed up with experts to develop a comprehensive webinar series to help physicians swiftly ramp up their telemedicine capabilities, from technology to practice implementation to coding. Experts discuss choosing a telemedicine platform; compliance; privacy and security considerations; billing and payment; policies, procedures, and workflow; informing your patients; and malpractice. Physicians who have experience practicing telemedicine share their practical reflections.

FREE | Available On-Demand
Medical offices and practices are essential businesses and were not required to close, but many physicians have faced difficulties with staffing, incorporating Telemedicine into their practices, ensuring waiting rooms are safe, etc. Sessions include "Getting Back Up and Running Safely," "HR and Employment Issues," and "Telemedicine and Reimbursement."
CMA On-Demand Library
FREE | Available On-Demand
Cancer Support Community Offers Emergency Financial Assistance to Patients

Cancer Support Community is offering emergency financial assistance to low-income cancer patients and their families in the Bay Area who are actively in treatment for cancer or will be in active treatment in the next six months. In some situations, the support may be extended to cancer survivors who have completed treatment in the last six months. Individuals should have an income level of $30,000 or less as an individual. A social worker, doctor, or other licensed medical provider must complete the intake form for the patient and make the request. Funds are limited. For more information, call (925) 933-0107. 
Please contact ACCMA at 510-654-5383 or accma@accma.org with any questions or concerns you have.
This information will also be posted online at www.accma.org/COVID-19 and will be updated frequently. Please check the ACCMA website regularly for updates.