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Practice in Nebraska

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources and Information

NSLHA Members: To discuss experiences, strategies and resources, please join the NSLHA Connects Facebook Group.

 

New on the Page (Updated May 1, 2020):

Local Health Department Information (NEW)

For a comprehensive list of County, City-County and District Health Departments, including website and contact information, click the image above or click here (PDF).

For local health department resources provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, click here.

 

COVID-19 Resources

NEW: Federal Register-Statement regarding relaxing of HIPAA standards, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-21/pdf/2020-08416.pdf.

 

Note the relaxing of standards for HIPAA compliance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The following is language pulled regarding platform allowances:

"A covered health care provider that wants to use audio or video communication technology to provide telehealth to patients during the COVID–19 nationwide public health emergency can use any non-public facing remote communication product that is available to communicate with patients."

This remains in effect until "The Secretary of HHS declares that the public health emergency no longer exists, or upon the expiration date of the declared public health emergency, including any extensions, (as determined by 42 U.S.C. 247d), whichever occurs first."

 

NEW: Nebraska DHHS announced an online form is available for healthcare providers to request PPE if they are at a critical point of one week’s supply, https://form.jotform.com/nebraskadhhs/pperequestform.

Please complete and submit the Nebraska DHHS PPE Needs Form, available here, to your public health department.
A Public Health Department Contact list is available here.

 

NEW: Nebraska DHHS Medicaid Provider Bulletins (Updated April 10, 2020)

Two provider bulletins have been added and are now available at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Medicaid-Provider-Bulletins.aspx:

  • Provider Bulletin 20-10: Telehealth Services - Behavioral Health
  • Provider Bulletin 20-09: Telehealth Services for Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy

 

Nebraska Total Care - Provider News section: https://www.nebraskatotalcare.com/providers/provider-news.html

COVID 19 Recourse/Info page: https://www.nebraskatotalcare.com/providers/resources/covid-19.html

WellCare of Nebraska: Click here for the telehealth training guide (Power-Point File).UnitedHealthcare Community Plan: https://www.uhccommunityplan.com/covid-19

 

Telehealth Coverage During COVID-19

For Telehealth coverage information and private insurance provider policies pertaining to telehealth during COVID-19, click here.

 

Health Protocols

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask (facemasks are only needed for those who show symptoms of coronavirus).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

 

Videos

ASL Services Video -  Stay home, stay safe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMcd7runnvY&feature=youtu.be

Nat. Assoc. of the Deaf Video - Communicating with medical personnel during coronavirus: https://www.nad.org/2020/03/28/communicating-with-medical-personnel-during-coronavirus/

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska Update

We are pleased to announce that Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Nebraska has agreed to cover telehealth for speech therapy services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following is the statement received from BCBS:

“BCBS NE has heard our provider community and has made the decision to adjust our telehealth policy to cover Physical, Speech and Occupational therapy service. BCBS NE will accept telehealth charges from any credentialed provider with no video component required during this pandemic urgency period. An announcement will be place on our Happening Now section of our webpage later today. Here is the link to our Happening Now section that will be updated: https://www.nebraskablue.com/Providers/Alerts-and-Updates/Happening-Now.

A provider may bill using E&M codes, therapy codes or telehealth codes and must use the modifier 95 and POS 02 for reimbursement.” 

 

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Updates

ASHA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates [March 20, 2020], which include:

  • On-the-Job Resources for ASHA Members
  • Volunteer Travel for ASHA Business
  • National Office Status
  • General Tips & Additional Resources

ASHA Telepractice Resources During COVID-19

 

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health

The Nebraska DHHS Division of Public Services has made information available on its website, http://dhhs.ne.gov/.

The site includes Health Care Provider Information and updated Public Service Messages.

An information hotline is available from 8 a.m. CST (7 a.m. MST) - 8 p.m. CST (7 p.m. MST) at (402) 552-6645.

Executive Orders (Full list at bottom of linked page)

CMS response to Nebraska 1135 waiver request

General Statewide Telehealth FAQ relating to COVID-19 with code information (Updated April 1, 2020)

 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to Ensure Individuals, Issuers and States have Clear Information on Coverage Benefits for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This action is part of the broader, ongoing effort by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to ensure that all Americans – particularly those at high-risk of complications from the COVID-19 virus – have access to the health benefits that can help keep them healthy while helping to contain the spread of this disease.

 

Medicare Expands Telehealth Services to Audiologists and SLPs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Medicare will now temporarily cover telehealth services [PDF] provided by audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) via the waiver authority it was granted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136). Medicare reimbursement of telehealth services provided by audiologists and SLPs will only last the duration of the public health emergency (PHE) and is retroactive to March 1, 2020.

Covered Audiology Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)© Codes

The following codes representing audiology services are covered Medicare telehealth services:

  • 92601: Diagnostic analysis of cochlear implant, patient younger than 7 years of age; with programming
  • 92602: Diagnostic analysis of cochlear implant, patient younger than 7 years of age; with programming; subsequent programming
  • 92603: Diagnostic analysis of cochlear implant, age 7 years or older; with programming
  • 92604: Diagnostic analysis of cochlear implant, age 7 years or older; with programming; subsequent programming

Covered Speech-Language Pathology Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)© Codes

The following codes representing speech-language pathology services are covered Medicare telehealth services:

  • 92507: Treatment of speech, language, voice, communication, and/or auditory processing disorder; individual
  • 92508: Treatment of speech, language, voice, communication, and/or auditory processing disorder; group
  • 92521: Evaluation of speech fluency (e.g., stuttering, cluttering)
  • 92522: Evaluation of speech sound production (e.g., articulation, phonological process, apraxia, dysarthria);
  • 92523: with evaluation of language comprehension and expression (e.g., receptive and expressive language)
  • 92524: Behavioral and qualitative analysis of voice and resonance

Note: Audiologists and SLPs will not be able to enter into private pay arrangements with Medicare beneficiaries and must bill Medicare for telehealth services because telehealth services are now covered.

 

Institutional Billing

Institutional settings, such as skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies, do not appear able to bill for telehealth services but ASHA is seeking clarification and will advocate for additional waivers as necessary. As noted in a fact sheet [PDF] associated with waivers provided for home health services under the PHE, CMS states that only in-person services can be reported via the home health claim even when the plan of care is developed or updated to include the use of telecommunication technology. In a similar fact sheet [PDF] developed for skilled nursing facilities, the only eligible telehealth services are the physician and nonphysician practitioner in-person visits (SLPs are considered suppliers under Medicare). However, Medicare officials have stated that services provided via audiovisual equipment—such as a smartphone or platforms like FaceTime or Skype—in the same building as the patient or through the patient's window are allowed but are considered in-person services and not telehealth services.

Under the expanded coverage, audiologists and SLPs should also consider the following:

  • For codes that are not authorized telehealth services, you can continue to maintain private contracts with Medicare beneficiaries.
  • If you have taken cash from a Medicare beneficiary since March 1 for covered telehealth services, you should reimburse the beneficiary and submit the claim to Medicare.
  • If you are not currently enrolled in Medicare, you must enroll in order to provide covered telehealth services. Federal law requires mandatory enrollment and claim submission for Medicare covered services.
  • If you are not a Medicare enrolled provider and delivered telehealth services to a Medicare beneficiary at any time since March 1 via a private pay arrangement, you should return those funds and will not be able to bill Medicare for those services.

 

FAQs for EHB: https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Fact-Sheets-and-FAQs/Downloads/EHB-Benchmark-Coverage-of-COVID-19.pdf

CMS is also posting FAQs to the Medicaid.gov website to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their response to COVID-19 in its continuing efforts to protect the health and safety of providers and patients.

Press release: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-publishes-first-set-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions-faqs-state-medicaid-and-childrens-health.

FAQs for State Medicaid and CHIP agencies: https://www.medicaid.gov/state-resource-center/disaster-response-toolkit/covid19/index.html.

These FAQs, and earlier CMS actions in response to the COVID-19 virus, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here www.coronavirus.gov. For information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

 

COVID-19 Updates for Medicaid Clients

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Medicaid and Long-Term Care Division is hosting weekly calls, Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., to provide updates and answer providers’ questions related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

To participate, call (888) 820-1398. Use attendee Code: 8559164#. Questions may also be submitted to DHHS.MLTCExperience@nebraska.gov.

For the DHHS provider bulletin issued March 18, click here.

Additional Resources:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

What you should know:

 

Situation Updates:

Information for Businesses:

Information for Healthcare Providers, First Responders, and Research Facilities:

Information for Families and Households:

Our Impact This Year

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