March 23, 2020
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Texas Podiatric Medical Association wants to share some important information with you and guidance for your practice during this challenging time. Below are some links that we hope will help you deal with the current situation.
Many podiatrists are searching for answers about how to address COVID-19 in their practices and personal lives. TPMA/APMA is here to help by directing you to the most authoritative and timely news and tools. These resources are available on APMA’s COVID-19 resource page at www.apma.org/covid19 as well as an FAQ page.
PODIATRISTS CAN PROVIDE E/M SERVICES REMOTELY
A resource that may be of interest to you are APMA-developed resources on providing telehealth services. You may need to provide Telephone Services and Online Digital Evaluation and Management Services during this time. CMS has announced major changes to services that podiatrists can furnish remotely under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. This waiver allows Medicare to pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth. This change means podiatrists can submit CPT 99201–99215 when these services are provided remotely. Watch APMA’s webinar for guidance on coding, compliance, and documentation for these service types. As of today, telehealth can be provided for Medicare Part B (Fee for Service) and Medicare Advantage plans only. Rules and Regulations change from day to day so stay tuned for updates.
Additionally, there may be upcoming issues with patients requiring “covered routine foot care” (RFC) and/or diabetic therapeutic shoes (DTS). With regard to the RFC and DTS it is APMA’s understanding that, “DME CMD’s suggest that CMS is having discussions with all the CMD’s on many of the policy issues given that it is not possible for most folks to get into their PCP offices right now. Priority for ill patients not for those who need to be certified for shoes or routine foot care must be given.
Some coders have also suggested that if possible (based on the patient’s history, physical finding, diagnoses and the Novitas Solution’s LCD on RFG) to use non-asterisk (*) diagnoses as these do not require the patient to be seen by their attending within the past six months. This is just a suggestion and may not be appropriate for every patient’s situation. There is also the possibility that these patients can be scheduled farther out after the virus situation and the social distancing is no longer a problem.
THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW ON MARCH 18, 2020
In the coming days and weeks, federal regulatory agencies, including the Department of Labor (DOL) and Health and Human Services (HHS), will provide guidance on how to execute or implement the new requirements. In the meantime, employers and advisors must rely on a good faith interpretation of the act’s text. View the Families First Act
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING AND REGULATION
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)
- The CDC WEBSITE has an abundance of information concerning COVID-19. The below link has information regarding healthcare setting recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/infection-control/control-recommendations.html
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO)
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY & MEDICINE
CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES
- COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Health Care Providers Fact Sheet
- Medicare Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet
TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION
- TWC webpage has resources and information on actions taken by the commission in response to COVID-19. This page will be continuously updated with answers to questions about operating your business during this time. Please visit https://twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-employers.
- Be aware there are fake emails coming in posing as COVID-19 informationals; these emails/sites direct you to install an applet in order to view “current” data but instead it installs a malicious program. Please be wary of any unfamiliar sites asking you to download or install anything. You can read more about it here.
Stay well and safe,
Steven P. Brancheau
Chief Medical Officer