From all of us at Digitech,
For the duration of this Public Health Emergency, we remain committed to assisting the EMS community by sharing important, up-to-date information with all of our friends and partners. Keeping our clients informed on the most recent updates related to COVID-19 continues to be a top priority. Below is a list of important COVID-19 related industry changes:
- CARES Act Provider Relief Fund – legislation has passed that provides $100 billion in relief funds to healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. Due to the importance of delivering the funds expeditiously, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is distributing $30 billion of the relief funds immediately. Please find a summary of the program below. Click here for more details.
- The payments are not loans and will not need to be repaid.
- Payments will automatically be received if your organization received Medicare (FFS) reimbursement in 2019.
- The payments will be received via ACH with a payment description of “HHSPAYMENT”
- Within 30 days of receipt of payment, providers must either accept the payment by signing an attestation and accepting the Terms & Conditions or contact HHS and remit the payment as instructed
- HHS has provided a formula for an estimate of the amount expected which is the amount paid by Medicare in 2019 divided by $484 billion and multiplied by $30 billion. Please contact Digitech if you would like assistance with calculating your estimate.
- The CARES Provider Relief Fund Payment Attestation Portal is now available through hhs.gov/providerrelief.
- Medicare FFS Sequestration Suspension – The CARES Act has temporarily suspended the 2% payment adjustment currently applied to all Medicare FFS claims due to sequestration. The suspension is effective for claims with dates of service from May 1 through December 31, 2020. Providers can expect to receive an increase of 2% more in their Medicare payments during this time period as compared to prior to the suspension.
- Beneficiary Signature Rule Change – Crew members can now obtain a “verbal consent” from the patient to sign on behalf of a suspected or known COVID patient. It is important to note that an actual patient signature is still required in the event the patient is physically or mentally capable of signing and is not a suspected or known COVID patient. Click here for more details, and here for an updated signature form.
- Alternate Destination – CMS has temporarily expanded the list of allowable destinations for ambulance transports to include any destination that is able to provide treatment to the patient in a manner consistent with state and local EMS protocols.
- Accelerated Payment Process – In order to increase cash flow to providers of services impacted by COVID-19, CMS has expanded the current Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to a broader group of Medicare Part A providers and Part B suppliers. The expansion of this program is only for the duration of the public health emergency. It is important to note that these payments are subject to recoupment. Click here for more details.
- CMS Relaxes Physician Certification Statement Signature Requirements – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released guidance that recognizes the difficulty ambulance service providers and suppliers may have during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) in obtaining a physician certification statement (PCS) signed by a physician or other authorized professional. CMS and its contractors by extension will not deny claims during a future medical audit even if there is no signature for non-emergency ambulance transports, absent an indication of fraud or abuse. Ambulance service providers and suppliers should indicate in the documentation that a signature was not able to be obtained because of COVID-19. The AAA advises completing the PCS form and then indicating if a physician or other appropriate person has not signed it by writing “COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” on the signature line. CMS also reminds providers and suppliers that medical necessity still needs to be met. The full Q&A document can be accessed here.
If you have any questions at this time, please reach out to us.