The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Monday, March 8.
New CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People
The CDC has issued new guidance on how people who are fully vaccinated can interact safely with others, including those who have and those who have not been vaccinated. Learn more from the following resources:
- the CDC’s news release announcing the new guidance
- the new guidance itself
- the scientific rationale for the CDC’s guidance
- additional background information for fully vaccinated people on how to protect themselves and others
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has updated its COVID-19 FAQs on Medicare fee-for-service billing with 35 new and revised questions. One item, on page 83, addresses billing for audio-only telehealth services.
Question: Can audio-only phone E/M visits (CPT codes 99441–99443) be billed in the same month as chronic care management (CCM) services?
Answer: Yes. During the public health emergency (PHE), audio-only phone E/M visits (CPT code s 99441-99443) may be billed in the same month as chronic care management (CCM) services when reasonable and necessary and as long as time is not counted toward more than one code. We expect that in most cases the time counted toward CCM would be clinical staff minutes while the time counted for audio-only phone E/M services would represent a direct interaction between the patient and the billing professional. In general, for the duration of the PHE, CPT codes 99441-99443 can be used to report an office/outpatient E/M visit furnished by phone including during a month where chronic care management services are being furnished, and these codes can therefore be reported in the same time period as CCM services.
- Another question, on pages 139 and 140, addresses payment for administering remdesivir and another, on page 140, addresses authorization to administer COVID-19 vaccines. The remaining questions, found from pages 92 through 109, address issues involving accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. All of the new questions are labeled “3/5/2021.”
HHS and CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls
HHS Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice
HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response sponsors COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice that are interactive virtual learning sessions that seek to create a peer-to-peer learning network in which clinicians from the U.S. and abroad who have experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes. These webinar topics are covered every week:
- EMS: Patient Care and Operations (Mondays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
- Critical Care: Lifesaving Treatment and Clinical Operations (Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
- Emergency Department: Patient Care and Clinical Operations (Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
CMS Stakeholders Calls
CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information about the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer participants an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.
CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls
Tuesday, March 16 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4177586
Audio Webcast link: go here
Tuesday, April 6 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2769397
Audio Webcast link: go here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has updated its guidance explaining why people should get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The CDC has updated its information about COVID-19 vaccines for different types of people.
- The CDC has updated its resources addressing why people at high risk for severe illness because of underlying medical conditions should obtain COVID-19 vaccines.
- The CDC has updated its data on cases of COVID-19 variants in the U.S.
- The CDC has published research on body mass index and risk for COVID-19-related hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, and death.
Food and Drug Administration