COVID-19 update: March 24, 2020

A message from KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo:
KMS is here to support you as you work to care for your patients, to protect your own health, and to ensure your practice is best equipped to navigate the many changing circumstances ahead due to COVID-19. To that end, we want to hear from you about the challenges you are experiencing and how we can better advocate for the resources you need at this time. We are in constant communication with federal, state, and local leaders to collect, distill, and disseminate COVID-19 information for our members as well as to report your needs back to policymakers.

We know your time is valuable and you are being stretched even further each day. Some of you need help navigating regulations for alternative care sites, others need more personal protection equipment, while still others are facing changes in work force and revenue as more patients are staying home or having elective procedures and non-emergent care delayed.

If you have a moment, please send me an email, text, or call to let us know your specific needs and challenges so we are better equipped to advocate on your behalf. We cannot do your job of caring for your patients, those with COVID-19 and those without—but we can and will continue to support you as you do so. Thank you for your service to Kansans by calming and caring for the sick and the well.

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March 24 — Telehealth and other payor updates

The White House recently expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of health care services without having to travel to a health care facility. Medicare will temporarily pay for such telehealth services, effective March 6. These changes, other payor updates, and changes in HIPAA restrictions for telehealth are summarized on our website.

March 23 — Updated guidance from KDHE on COVID-19 testing

Due to the widespread shortage of lab supplies and reagents, testing at KHDE labs are being prioritized. It is important for health care facilities submitting specimens to fill out the approval form completely. KDHE will be prioritizing specimens for testing for these patients:

  • Health care workers and first responders who have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Potential clusters of respiratory illness, with priority given to long-term care facilities and health care facilities.
  • Hospital patients with no alternative diagnosis.
  • Individuals over the age of 60 who have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Individuals with underlying health conditions who would be treated differently if infected with COVID-19.

March 22 — CMS announces exceptions to quality program reporting requirements

CMS announced it is granting exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for clinicians and providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs with respect to upcoming measure reporting and data submission for those programs. Specifically, CMS is implementing additional “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” policy exceptions and extensions for upcoming measure reporting and data submission deadlines for several programs. Find details here.

March 22 — Gov. Kelly loosens some telemedicine regulations

Gov. Laura Kelly signed an executive order that temporarily expands telemedicine and loosens some telemedicine regulations in response to COVID-19. The executive order encourages physicians to utilize telemedicine where possible. It also allows out-of-state physicians to treat patients in Kansas via telemedicine without a license from the state. View details of Executive Order 20-08.

March 20 — Temporary licensure provisions for COVID-19 response

The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA) extended temporary licensure provisions for inactive health care providers seeking to help care for COVID-19 patients. The KSBHA is offering a temporary emergency license available for all health care professions regulated by the Board. Those who hold an emergency temporary license are limited to engaging in the practice of their profession for health care services relating to COVID-19 response efforts and/or mitigating any effect of COVID-19. The KSBHA is also waiving licensing fees for such licenses. Please refer to the full release on KSBHA's website for more details.

March 20 — KMS signs onto AMA letter in support of physician practices

KMS has joined a letter to Congress from the American Medical Association and many other organizations in support of sustaining physicians and their practices during this unprecedented national emergency through tax relief, no-interest loans, direct payments, payment for virtual visits including phone calls, and other measures. Read the letter here.

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If you have questions about this update or other matters, please contact KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..