COVID-19 Practice and Advocacy Resources

Updated May 29, 2020 at 11:45 AM ET

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ACR Telemedicine Provider Fact Sheet - Updated May 7, 2020
The ACR’s Telemedicine Provider Fact Sheet provides coding and other practical guidance for ensuring proper reimbursement for telehealth services. 

Telehealth Quick Reference Guide - Updated May 6, 2020
The ACR quick reference coding guide is designed to assist rheumatologists and rheumatology professionals to navigate coding and billing for telehealth services. 

Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions - Updated May 14, 2020
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) resource is a companion to the ACR Telemedicine Provider Fact Sheet to assist rheumatologists and their staff locate answers to key questions on practice flow and coding/billing telehealth services. 

Commercial Payer Temporary Telehealth Policies - Updated May 29, 2020
The ACR has compiled a chart of the temporary changes that commercial payers have made to their telehealth policies.

States Waiving of Modifying Licensure Requirements for Telemedicine in Response to COVID-19 - Updated April 24, 2020
The ACR has compiled a chart of state modifications to licensure requirements enabling providers to conduct telehealth across state lines during the COVID-19 emergency.

Telehealth Vendor List
The ACR list of vendors is designed to help navigate an increasingly crowded space to choose the telehealth company that best meets rheumatology practices specific operational needs and unique patient population.

Patient Resource: How to Navigate Telehealth - Updated April 11, 2020
The ACR has developed guidance for rheumatologists and rheumatology professionals talking to patients who have questions about remote or telehealth visits with their rheumatology provider during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Template Letter to State Boards Regarding Malpractice Carriers
The ACR has created a template letter that providers can use to reach out to their state medical boards to advocate for clearer directives on practicing telehealth across state lines.

Medical Malpractice Coverage for Telehealth Services
The ACR has prepared a chart with information on malpractice coverage for telehealth services. Practices are encouraged to contact their carriers and confirm coverage.  

Drug Shortages

ACR Guiding Principles for Scarce Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The ACR offers recommendations regarding the allocation of several resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. All recommendations are based on current knowledge and are subject to revision as circumstances evolve.

Compounding Pharmacy Announcement  - New 
Following FDA's authorization to allow compounding pharmacies to compound hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for patients who have relied on this medication, the ACR has been working to help members quickly identify pharmacies that may have compounded HCQ.

Advice for Talking to Patients About Shortages of Hydroxychloroquine During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Updated May 2, 2020
The ACR has generated suggested talking points that rheumatology professionals may wish to consider when discussing the hydroxychloroquine shortage with patients.

Joint Statement on Hydroxychloroquine Access During COVID-19 Crisis
The ACR joined with the American Academy of Dermatology, Arthritis Foundation, and Lupus Foundation of America in a joint statement to the administration and the nation’s governors highlighting critical hydroxychloroquine access issues.

ACR State Letter for Recommendations for Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine Usage
The ACR has generated a letter that providers can use on the state level to advocate for appropriate usage of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FDA Releases Video on Emergency Use Authorizations   - New
Following discussions with ACR, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a video further clarifying their Emergency Use Authorization for Hydroxychloroquine.

Economic Support

HHS Updated FAQs - CARES Act Provider Relief Fund - New
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated its Frequently Asked Questions document pertaining to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund distributions. Updates from May 14 include details about how HHS determined additional payments, and a formula allowing providers to estimate their payments from the general distribution. The calculation includes any payments under the first $30 billion distribution as well as under the $20 billion distribution allocations. Providers may not receive a second distribution payment if the provider received a first distribution payment of equal to or more than 2% of patient revenue. Importantly, if providers returned or rejected their initial payment, the FAQ outlines the next steps to potentially receive a more appropriate amount.

HHS Announces Additional Allocations to Relief Fund - New
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced details on remaining allocations of the Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act. An additional $20 billion has been designated for general distribution to Medicare facilities and providers impacted by COVID-19. Unlike the initial tranche of funding from the HHS, most eligible practices will need to complete the application before funds are approved and sent to their bank account.

Paycheck Protection Program Overview - Updated April 24, 2020
The Paycheck Protection Program within the newly enacted stimulus package provides forgivable federal loans to small businesses, including physician practices, with no more than 500 employees. Funds can be used to help retain workers, maintain payroll, and cover rent/mortgage/utility expenses. The program's application can be found online, and if your existing lender is not participating, you can find eligible lenders on the SBA website.

Sustain your Rheumatology Practice During the COVID-19 Pandemic   - New
Watch ACR Insurance Subcommittee Chair Chris Phillips, MD, as he addresses important questions that can help you sustain your rheumatology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and Human Services Emergency Fund Disburses First $30 Billion to Practices - Updated April 20, 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is disbursing the first $30 billion of the $100 billion Congress allocated to hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These distributions are reflective of the advocacy requests made by the ACR, the AMA, and other physician societies in response to challenges being faced during the COVID-19 emergency. HHS has confirmed these relief funds are emergency payments, not loans, to healthcare providers and they will not need to be repaid.

Practice Support

ACR Signs Coalition Letter to Congress to Restrict Step Therapy Use During COVID-19  - Posted April 27, 2020
Letter from ACR-led Step Therapy Coalition to Congress requesting guardrails from the Safe Step Act apply to the practice during COVID-19 crisis highlighting the demand of step therapy on struggling practices.

ACR Home Infusion Guiding Principles During COVID-19  - Posted April 14, 2020
The ACR has developed guiding principles related to home infusion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACR Infusion Guidance During COVID-19  - Updated April 11, 2020
Patient access to office-based infusion services is a top priority for rheumatology practices. The ACR has created infusion guidance best practices to keep rheumatology practices up to date with relevant information to navigate this complex landscape.

Guiding Principles for Decision Making: In-Person Urgent vs. Virtual Non-Urgent Medical Care - Updated May 9, 2020
The ACR has developed guiding principles related to urgent vs. non-urgent rheumatology services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patient Resource: When and How to Seek Care  - Updated April 11, 2020
The ACR has developed guidance for rheumatologists and rheumatology professionals talking to patients who have questions about how and when to access rheumatology care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Insurance Advocacy

ACR Letter to Commercial Payers Regarding Access to Hydroxychloroquine and Telehealth Concerns  - New
The ACR is urging insurance companies to limit the use of prior authorizations for patients already taking hydroxychloroquine, adopt uniform coding guidelines for telehealth visits and reimburse at parity for telehealth, including audio-only visits.

ACR Letter to Commercial Payers Urging Relief from COVID-19 Burdens
The ACR is urging insurance companies to expand access to telehealth services and to provide relief from administrative burdens and practice disruptions, including those from prior authorization.

ACR Signs on to Regulatory Relief Coalition Letter Requesting Medicare Advantage Plans Waive PA Requirements
The ACR joined with other specialty society members of the Regulatory Relief Coalition urging CMS to instruct Medicare Advantage plans to waive prior authorization requirements for the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency.

ACR Updated Statement on Prior Authorization
The ACR has released an official position statement concerning prior authorization and the significant burdens it creates for patients and rheumatology professionals.

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