As Florida faces the COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida Society of Neurology would like to offer our support and encouragement to Florida neurologists trying to deal with sick patients, making hospital rounds, and trying to secure childcare as well.
As I am sure you are aware, no medical conferences will be taking place this spring, including the AAN meeting in Toronto. The FSN annual meeting is scheduled for October 2-4, 2020, and we have every reason to believe that this will go forward as planned. This will be an excellent opportunity to get your CME and to make face to face contact with colleagues you are missing during this time of social distancing.
Many practitioners are choosing telehealth as a substitute for patient encounters. The FSN wants to make sure you are aware of updated Medicare rules regarding telehealth. According to CMS.gov Medicare Telemedicine Healthcare Provider Fact Sheet:
Effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to patients in broader circumstances.
These visits are considered the same as in-person visits and are paid at the same rate as regular, in-person visits.
Starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for professional services furnished to beneficiaries in all areas of the country in all settings.
While they must generally travel to or be located in certain types of originating sites such as a physician’s office, skilled nursing facility or hospital for the visit, effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to beneficiaries in any healthcare facility and in their home.
The Medicare coinsurance and deductible would generally apply to these services. However, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs.
To the extent the 1135 waiver requires an established relationship, HHS will not conduct audits to ensure that such a prior relationship existed for claims submitted during this public health emergency.
In addition, FSN would like you to be aware that Governor DeSantis announced a 0% interest one year loan for all small businesses in Florida, with 50 million dollars allocated to provide economic relief during this crisis. Those of you in private practice should take advantage of this opportunity to help bridge the gap during this difficult time. Apply starting March 17, 2020 at Floridadisasterloan.org.
We at the Florida Society of Neurology wish you and your patients health and security during these difficult times.
COVID-19 RESOURCE LINKS
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FMA urges Governor to lift executive order on non-essential elective medical procedures
STATEMENT BY FLORIDA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT RONALD L. GIFFLER, MD, JD, MBA, RELATED TO GOV. DESANTIS’ RECOMMENDATION TO ALLOW ELECTIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURES IN FLORIDA
(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Medical Association (FMA) President Ronald F. Giffler, MD, JD, MBA, today offered the following statement related to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ announcement that elective medical procedures will be allowed in Florida. This recommendation was unveiled as part of the Governor’s ‘Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery’ and under Phase 1 beginning Monday, May 4.
“On behalf of our more than 25,000 members, the Florida Medical Association is pleased Gov. Ron DeSantis today announced that elective medical procedures will now be allowed in Florida. This is welcomed news as many patients have had to delay much needed treatment and care due to Executive Order 20-72 prohibiting patients with chronic kidney disease, certain cancer, cardiac bypass and congestive heart failure and those needing joint surgeries to alleviate chronic pain, to receive care.
“While the state has understandably focused on the immediate needs of fighting COVID-19, it is imperative that we not ignore a potential second crisis: a wave of emergencies and fatalities among the people delaying care or going untreated.
“Thank you to the Governor in developing these recommendations so Florida patients may continue to access the high-quality health care services they need.”