Stay up to date on the latest news and information on COVID-19 with resources including latest CDC/WHO/AAFP recommendations, payment information, telemedicine updates, office preparedness updates and more for Family Physicians.
- COVID Vaccinations in Maryland
- Vaccination Sites List
- Maryland Department of Health
- CDC Resources Home
- CDC Information for Healthcare Professionals
- Maryland Department of Public Health for state specific information
- AAFP Resources
- WHO Risk Assessment
- Coronavirus and MDPCP Practices
- The Center for Connected Health Policy – Telehealth Coverage Policies
- CARES Act Provider Relief Fund
- CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Accelerates Payment Support
- COVID-19 Retirement Guides
- Retire Guide Medicare
Immediate Authorization of COVID-19 Booster Shots For Marylanders
Governor Larry Hogan recently issued the following statement after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave final approval for Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots:
“While this action was long overdue, I am glad that the federal government has finally approved booster shots for seniors and high-risk individuals. It is a significant step toward providing additional protection for our most vulnerable residents and supports the data-based decision we made earlier this month to move ahead on booster shots for seniors in congregate settings.
“Maryland has already administered more than 50,000 additional doses, and we have both the supply and the capacity to provide a booster shot to anyone who needs one. We have mobilized a robust network of vaccination providers, including pharmacies, primary care providers, mobile clinics, community health centers, and local health departments.” READ MORE
COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody EUA Updates: casirivimab/imdevimab
CMS posted technical updates to the Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion and COVID-19 Vaccines and Monoclonal Antibodies webpages to reflect updates to the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for casirivimab and imdevimab, a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody.
Impact of the PHE on Telehealth: Comparative Billing Report in August
In late August, CMS will issue a Special Edition Comparative Billing Report (CBR) on the impact of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) on Part B claims for telehealth. Use the data-driven report to compare your billing practices during the PHE with those of your peers in your state and across the nation.
CBRs aren’t publicly available. Look for an email from email@example.com to access your report. Update your email address in the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System to ensure delivery.
- View a webinar recording
- Visit the CBR website
- Register for a live webinar on September 8 from 3-4 pm ET
CMS Expands Medicare Payments for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing commitment to increasing access to vaccinations and improving health equity, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding opportunities for people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in their home. To ensure Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach can receive the vaccination, healthcare providers can now receive additional payments for administering vaccines to multiple residents in one home setting or communal setting of a home.
August 24th’s announcement aims to further boost the administration of COVID-19 vaccination – including second and third doses – in smaller group homes, assisted living facilities, and other group living situations by allowing vaccine providers to receive the increased payment up to five times when fewer than ten Medicare beneficiaries get the vaccine on the same day in the same home or communal setting. This policy will help ensure that at-risk patients in smaller settings have the same opportunities as others to receive the vaccination. READ MORE
COVID-19 Vaccines Additional Doses: Codes & Payment
The FDA amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to allow for an additional dose in certain immunocompromised people.
Effective August 12, 2021, CMS will pay to administer additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines consistent with the FDA EUAs, using CPT code 0003A for the Pfizer vaccine and CPT code 0013A for the Moderna vaccine. We’ll pay the same amount to administer this additional dose as we did for other doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (approximately $40 each).
We’ll hold and then process all claims with these codes after we complete claims system updates (no later than August 27).
Learn more about Medicare COVID-19 vaccine:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Additional Vaccine Dose for Certain Immunocompromised Individuals
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss further clinical recommendations regarding immunocompromised individuals. Today’s action does not apply to people who are not immunocompromised.
“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time. The FDA is actively engaged in a science-based, rigorous process with our federal partners to consider whether an additional dose may be needed in the future.” READ MORE
COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People
What You Need to Know:
- People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness.
- People who have compromised immune systems may benefit from an additional dose to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.
- CDC recommends people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses.
CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time.
Confronting COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation
View shareable resources and the Advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General about COVID-19 misinformation.
View Resources >
Clinical Considerations: Myocarditis and Pericarditis after Receipt of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Among Adolescents and Young Adults
Since April 2021, increased cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported in the United States after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), particularly in adolescents and young adults. There has not been a similar reporting pattern observed after receipt of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Updates
The Maryland Department of Health recently released updated guidance for COVID vaccines regarding the Pfizer vaccine provider qualifications and process.
COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education | Resources to help answer your patients’ questions
Customize and use any of the Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccinations: Sample Patient Education Messages in your patient portal, newsletters or emails.
Use the Debunking Common COVID-19 Vaccine Myths article on familydoctor.org to correct misconceptions your patients might have, like:
- The COVID-19 vaccines were developed too fast to be safe.
- There weren’t enough participants in clinical trials to declare the vaccines safe.
- I won’t need to wear a mask after I am vaccinated.
New MDH COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Guide for Primary Care
In partnership with Maryland Department of Health and Maryland Primary Care Program, we are happy to share the newly developed COVID-19 Vaccine Communication and Outreach Strategies in Primary Care guide and the following message from the MDH Primary Care Vaccine Program Team:
As COVID-19 vaccine demand decreases, it will take more outreach and one-on-one conversations at your practice to work with patients to accept the vaccine. We hope you can use this document as a guide for those initiatives at your practice.
In the document, you’ll find:
- Positive messaging for the COVID-19 vaccine
- Ways to respond to common reasons for vaccine hesitancy
- Outreach strategies for getting people in for vaccine appointments and examples from successful practices
- And more!
SPREAD THE WORD
As of Monday, April 19, 2021, every person 16 years and older in the United States is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. You can help spread the word so every adult knows they are now eligible. Use the NEW COVID-19 Community Corps Social Media Toolkit to spread the word about expanded eligibility.
HHS just launched a COVID-19 Public Education Campaign, We Can Do This, which is a national initiative to increase public confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing basic prevention measures such as mask wearing and social distancing.
COVID-19 now included in the Immunization Division’s
Vaccine Confidence resources:
- Communicate with Confidence
- Talking with Patients about Vaccines
- A convenient downloadable one-pager of vaccine resources, to help providers talk to patients about vaccines.
- Articles – Videos – Apps – Social Media
- Vaccine Conversations – Vaccine Safety – COVID-19 Vaccines
- Specific Populations – Handouts for Patients/Staff
COVID-19: Revised Clinician Codes Accepted with CS Modifier
Effective March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires Medicare Part B to cover beneficiary cost-sharing for provider visits when a COVID-19 diagnostic test is administered or ordered. CMS updated the list of codes (ZIP) that physicians and non-physician practitioners can use with the Cost-Sharing (CS) modifier.
For dates of service on or after January 1, 2021, through the end of the public health emergency, we’ll accept these codes with the CS modifier:
HCPCS codes G2250, G2251, and G2252
CPT codes 98970, 98971, and 98972 (These replace HCPCS codes G2061 – G2063, which are accepted for services provided in 2020)
CPT codes 98966, 98967, and 98968 are accepted for services with the CS modifier provided on or after March 18, 2020.
More information about cost-sharing: Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) Response to the Public Health Emergency on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) (PDF) MLN Matters Article
Home For The Holidays: Governor Hogan Announces New Travel Orders, $180 Million More in Economic Relief
Governor Larry Hogan and state health officials recently took a series of actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season, including new testing and quarantine requirements for travel, and a new public health advisory to limit gatherings. In addition, the governor announced an additional $180 million in emergency economic relief, including more help for bars and restaurants, as well as a boost in the Temporary Cash Assistance benefit.
“Our strongest defense against this virus continues to be the cooperation and the vigilance of the people of Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “However, this holiday season could present perhaps our toughest challenge yet. Our message today is simple: you are safer at home for the holidays this year. Making difficult sacrifices during these next few weeks will absolutely help to keep your family, loved ones, and your fellow Marylanders safe.”
CDC Digital Media Toolkit: 2020-21 Flu Season
Help spread the word on the importance of getting a flu vaccine by using the CDC’s recently released digital media toolkit for the 2020-21 flu season. FDA also released multiple reasons why it is important to get your flu vaccine, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Resource for COVID-19: CDC/IDSA Real-Time Learning Network
The American Academy of Family Physicians has been selected by the CDC as a collaborator in the COVID-19 Real-Time Learning Network (RTLN). The RTLN is a collaborative effort led by the Infectious Diseases Society of America to provide access to the latest information on fighting COVID-19 by bringing together the many health care disciplines fighting this pandemic to share resources and best practices, and ultimately decrease the impact of COVID-19 and save lives. The goal of the network is to bring value, support, and guidance to healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients through education, communication and outreach. READ MORE
CMS Announces New Repayment Terms for Medicare Loans Made to Providers During COVID-19
New recoupment terms allow providers and suppliers one additional year to start loan payments
CMS announced amended terms for payments issued under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program as required by recent action by President Trump and Congress. This Medicare loan program allows CMS to make advance payments to providers, which are typically used in emergency situations. Under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, repayment will now begin one year from the issuance date of each provider or supplier’s accelerated or advance payment. CMS issued $106 billion in payments to providers and suppliers in order to alleviate the financial burden health care providers faced while experiencing cash flow issues in the early stages of combating the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency.
“In the throes of an unprecedented pandemic, providers and suppliers on the frontlines needed a lifeline to help keep them afloat,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “CMS’ advanced payments were loans given to providers and suppliers to avoid having to close their doors and potentially causing a disruption in service for seniors. While we are seeing patients return to hospitals and doctors providing care we are not yet back to normal,” she added.
CMS expanded the AAP Program on March 28, 2020, and gave these loans to health care providers and suppliers in order to combat the financial burden of the pandemic. CMS successfully paid more than 22,000 Part A providers, totaling more than $98 billion in accelerated payments. This included payments to Part A providers for Part B items and services they furnished. In addition, more than 28,000 Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners, and durable medical equipment suppliers received advance payments totaling more than $8.5 billion.
Providers were required to make payments starting in August of this year, but with this action, repayment will be delayed until one year after payment was issued. After that first year, Medicare will automatically recoup 25% of Medicare payments otherwise owed to the provider or supplier for 11 months. At the end of the 11-month period, recoupment will increase to 50% for another 6 months. If the provider or supplier is unable to repay the total amount of the AAP during this time-period (a total of 29 months), CMS will issue letters requiring repayment of any outstanding balance, subject to an interest rate of 4%.
The letter also provides guidance on how to request an Extended Repayment Schedule (ERS) for providers and suppliers who are experiencing financial hardships. An ERS is a debt installment payment plan that allows a provider or supplier to pay debts over the course of 3 years, or, up to 5 years in the case of extreme hardship. Providers and suppliers are encouraged to contact their MAC for information on how to request an ERS. To allow even more flexibility in paying back the loans, the $175 billion issued in Provider Relief funds can be used towards repayment of these Medicare loans. CMS will be communicating with each provider and supplier in the coming weeks as to the repayment terms and amounts owed as applicable for any accelerated or advance payment issued.
For More Information: