In a matter of a few weeks, the coronavirus has had a major impact on our country, our healthcare system and undoubtedly your practice. In light of this, I want to make you aware of a few modifications to the day to day operations at the United Physicians Corporate office.
Per recommendations from both the state and federal governments, we have the UP Staff working remotely with the ability to come to the office in small groups as needed. Please be assured that the UP Staff is ready, willing and able to perform their usual services to your office. Also, for offices that utilize the UP Care Management Staff, please be aware that our staff will continue interacting with your patients via telehealth only until further notice.
We will be updating our UP website with the latest coronavirus information as it becomes available. Together, we will all get through this difficult time. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Yesterday, in response to the US Public Health Emergency due to COVID19, CMS expanded access to telehealth. Effective immediately, providers will be allowed to conduct telehealth visits with patients on non-HIPAA compliant “everyday technologies” such as Skype or FaceTime. This is a short-term response to a critical situation. We anticipate practices will still need a long-term solution in order to provide compliant telemedicine visits once the crisis is over. We are greatly relieved that our government has removed barriers for now and we are actively working on a longer term network level solution to support our providers who wish to offer telemedicine to their patients on an ongoing basis.
We will keep you abreast of updates from other payers as they become available.
Kim Coleman, MD,
Chief Medical Officer
Secretary Azar Announces Historic Expansion of Telehealth Access to Combat COVID-19
On Tuesday, the Trump Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced unprecedented steps to expand Americans’ access to t
elehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Centers for Medicare & and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth visits, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it will waive potential HIPAA penalties for good faith use of telehealth during the emergency, and the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) provided flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive beneficiary cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar released the following statement:
“Thanks to the Public Health Emergency I declared in January, more older Americans will be able to access healthcare they need from their home, without worrying about putting themselves or others at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers will be allowed to use everyday technologies to talk to telehealth patients, more telehealth services will be covered for millions more Medicare beneficiaries, and providers will be allowed to offer these telehealth benefits to Medicare beneficiaries at a lower cost than traditional services. From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, President Trump has been knocking out every bureaucratic obstacle possible that stands in the way of a rapid and effective response. We are grateful to the hard work of those across HHS who put together these actions, and we’re grateful to American healthcare providers for working to take advantage of these options and continue their heroic work serving patients during the outbreak.”
In light of and in an attempt to mitigate the evolving COVID 19 situation, the United Physicians Care Management team will temporarily adjust our care delivery to only remote care through telemedicine or telephonic communication.
It is important that we reinforce our continued presence through remote access with your practice. This should not cause any disruption in service; we will continue to work with your office manager/champion remotely to review eligible patients and to facilitate your patient referrals. We are ever committed to supporting you and the care management of your patients.
We are wholeheartedly committed to the well-being of our patients and staff and will take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety to the best of our ability.
If you have any questions, please contact Client Services at 248.593.0100 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.