One of the major questions facing our members is whether or not elective tests or visits or other procedures should be canceled at this time.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in mid-March that all elective and non-essential surgeries and procedures be postponed “until further notice.” On April 7, 2020, CMS released a letter laying out a tiering system for determining which patients should and shouldn't be seen during this crisis. On April 19, 2020, CMS released new guidance allowing for some medical facilities in areas with low incidences of COVID-19 to return to performing elective procedures. For state-specific guidance, please see the AMA's Factsheet. The CDC also provides detailed COVID-19 guidance for Outpatient and Ambulatory Care Settings.
Physicians are encouraged to discuss issues related to patient care with their hospitals and provide their recommendations regarding which patients need to be seen versus those that can be delayed without impact on patient care or outcomes. Physicians should carefully consider when to cancel non-urgent procedures or prioritize their more urgent patients in order to reduce potential exposure and to ensure judicious use of potentially limited supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). Physicians should check the CDC website for updates to this recommendation given the evolving nature of this situation.
AANEM's Open Letter to Neuromuscular Patients
Please be aware that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have expanded their coverage of telehealth services so this may also be an option for some patient visits. Please visit our Telemedicine and COVID-19 Guide
webpage for up-to-date information on:
- Definitions of telemedicine and the main types of virtual services
- HIPAA compliance
- State licensure and regulations
- Patient relationship criteria
- Insurance and co-pay information
- Coding for telemedicine
- Pertinent links to guide you in setting up telehealth capabilities in your practice
A new CPT code has been created that streamlines novel coronavirus testing offered by hospitals, health systems and laboratories. This code is effective March 13, 2020.
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
The CDC also announced an ICD-10-CM diagnosis code to accurately document the COVID-19 diagnosis in patients. This code is effective April 1, 2020.
The AMA has published a CPT Assistant
article that provides guidance on the use of the new SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) CPT code. The AMA has also released several resources to aid in correct coding for patients being assessed for COVID-19:
Quick reference flow chart for CPT reporting for COVID-19 testing
Coding scenarios and how to apply best coding practices
Centers for Disease Control
- For more information about COVID-19, such as special cleaning, caring for ill family members at home, travel considerations, etc., please visit the CDC’s website here.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services COVID-19 Partner Toolkit
White House task force
can be found on CMS’s “Current Emergencies” website
National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 information
American Medical Association - AMA COVID-19 Resource Center for Physicians
Elsevier Novel Coronavirus Information Center
The Lancet COVID-19 Resource Centre
Cell Press Coronavirus Resource Hub
International Rehabilitation Forum's Coronavirus Rehabilitation Tools
The AMA has compiled a list/summary of select state laws, regulations, executive actions relating to boards of pharmacy, executive decisions or other new rules/guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The summary, updated on April 6, 2020 can be found here