CMS relaxes rules to help hospitals combat pandemic | Mental health on the minds of frontline workers | Survey: Many US hospitals running low on PPE
April 2, 2020
On the Provider Front
The CMS announced a host of regulatory changes and flexibilities aimed at helping hospitals combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes include allowing the use of non-hospital buildings and spaces for patient care or as quarantine sites, permitting hospitals to test for the novel coronavirus at home or in other settings outside the hospital, allowing health care professionals to enroll in the Medicare program temporarily, and permitting those in Medicare to bill for over 80 telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (3/30),  Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (3/30) 
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Mental health on the minds of frontline workers
Burnout is an ongoing concern for health care professionals, and they're particularly vulnerable as caring for patients during the coronavirus pandemic restricts their ability to practice self-care, eat well and see their families, says licensed clinical social worker Ashley Carter Youngblood. Such emotional and physical exhaustion can lead to compassion fatigue or post-traumatic stress disorder, experts say.
Full Story: WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo, Mich.) (3/26) 
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On the Payer Front
The CMS announced the expansion of its Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to help Medicare health care and equipment providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the program, advance Medicare payments will be provided to hospitals and other health care providers that submit a request and have billed the program for claims within the past 180 days before the date of signature on the request.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital CFO Report (3/30),  FierceHealthcare (3/30) 
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More than $100 billion for health care organizations is included in the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act signed into law Friday, but PYA's consulting practice said health care groups should look into three specific programs first. The Paycheck Protection Program, the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, and Medicare provisions can have an immediate financial effect.
Full Story: HealthLeaders Media (3/29) 
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HIT Developments
An algorithm showed that body aches, alanine aminotransferase levels and hemoglobin levels are predictive of acute respiratory disease syndrome in patients with COVID-19, while age, sex, fever and ground-glass opacity in lung images were not predictive, researchers reported in Computers, Materials & Continua. The AI program could guide health care decisions and the allocation of resources, says co-author Megan Coffee.
Full Story: Yahoo/Agence France-Presse (3/30) 
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Trends in Health Care
Health care facilities and staff are focused on treating COVID-19 and dealing with shortages of personal protective equipment but the industry will feel the impact of the pandemic for many years, writes MGMA President Halee Fischer-Wright. Some believe the pandemic will accelerate a move toward value-based care and there are other concerns that the government will reduce health care payments to help the economy recover, she writes.
Full Story: Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (3/26) 
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Aon News
COVID-19: A look at how a pandemic can affect an economy
The COVID-19 health crisis is seriously affecting communities, businesses and economies. Looking at past pandemics can help us better understand the long-term effects. Learn more.
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