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COVID-19

This page contains resources you need to stay updated on the coronavirus. This is a resource page for VGM & Associates and all communities, including complex rehab (U.S. Rehab), Women's Health (Essentially Women), Orthotics & Prosthetics (OPGA), and Home Modifications (Live at Home).

Please click an icon below for specific COVID-19 resources, or scroll down for the most recent updates.


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Recent Updates: 

Deadline to Apply for HHS Relief Payments (Round 2) June 3rd

May 21, 2020

Those of you who received a payment from HHS between April 10 and April 24th (the payments that were automatically sent to you, that you didn’t ask for or apply for) are able to apply for a second round of HHS Relief Payments. In fact, ONLY companies that received Round 1 HHS relief payments can apply for Round 2. I’ve included a few links below that are pertinent to the Round 2 application process. READ MORE


Industry Matters Podcast - Start With Yes: A Chat with Bellevue Healthcare's President, Joel Gallion

May 13, 2020

U.S. Rehab President, Greg Packer, asks Joel Gallion, President at Bellevue Healthcare in the state of Washington, what it's been like on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen below or click here.


Find Out How to Get Oxygen Claims Paid

May 13,2020


Health Plan Policy Changes Updated 5.12.20

May 12, 2020

Click here for the latest policy changes to private payers (Health plans) due to COVID-19. 


HHS Extends Deadline From 30-45 Days for Provider Relief Funds

May 8, 2020

When HHS first started distributing relief funds to providers throughout the country, they initially stated providers had 30 days to complete their attestation and agree to the terms and conditions of keeping the payments. HHS has now extended that attestation timeframe to 45 days, giving providers an additional 15 days to familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions associated with the Provider Relief Fund. More information can be found HERE.


From The Desk Of Ronda Buhrmester: Breaking Down The PHE Rules

May 8, 2020

You have taken care of your patients, now it's time to get the claims paid! As more information is being released on the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), we are getting a better understanding with regards to getting claims reimbursed especially in the respiratory area.  

Let's break down the latest release as it relates to in-person encounters (F2F), clinical indications for coverage, the standard written order requirements, claim instructions, and diagnosis coding. 

Starting with the diagnosis coding, follow the normal guidelines outline in the medical policies to append the appropriate ICD-10 diagnosis code. If the patient is being treated for COVID-19 related illness, then use the following guidelines based on dates of service. READ MORE.


Industry Matters Podcast Episode 54: Finding Out How COVID-19 Impacts Our VGM Members

May 7, 2020

VGM Members Liam O'Keefe (On The Mend Medical Supplies & Equipment) and Jacob Kwaiser (Adaptive Modification Solutions) talk with VGM Live At Home vice president, Jim Greatorex about their personally and professional experiences with COVID-19.

Listen below or click here.


COVID-19 Interim Final Rule Released

May 1, 2020

Yesterday CMS issued another round of sweeping regulatory waivers and rule changes to deliver expanded care and provide flexibility to the healthcare system as America reopens. These changes include making it easier for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to get tested for COVID-19 and continuing CMS’s efforts to further expand beneficiaries’ access to telehealth services. The Interim Final Rule (IFR) includes new rules to support and expand COVID-19 testing, increase hospital capacity, and allows more diabetic patients to monitor their glucose and adjust insulin doses at home. Read More.


HHS Opens New Portal for Providers to Submit Claims

April 30, 2020

This week HHS opened a new portal which allows providers, including DME providers, to submit claims to be reimbursed at Medicare reimbursement rates if they provided equipment and services to uninsured patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis. Read More.


Paycheck Protection Program Loans Over $2M Will Now Be Audited Before Being Forgiven

April 29, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been the subject of criticism since the initial $349B pool of money associated with the program was exhausted in just 2 weeks, and details emerged regarding large, publicly traded companies receiving millions of dollars in loans through the program. There are several examples of public companies with substantial market value and access to capital markets applying and being approved for PPP loans. The criticism of the program led Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to say that the Small Business Administration will be doing a full review of any loan over $2M before there is loan forgiveness. He went on to say, “This was a program designed for small businesses. It was not a program that was designed for public companies that had liquidity.”

In addition to the comments from Secretary Mnuchin, the SBA has added the following question and answer to their program guidance. Click here to read the Q&A.


IMPORTANT CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Update

April 27, 2020

HHS has begun distributing the remaining $20 billion of the $50 billion general distribution to Medicare providers to augment providers’ allocations so that the whole $50 billion general distribution is allocated proportional to providers' share of 2018 net patient revenue. Medicare providers for whom HHS did not have adequate cost report data on file will need to submit their revenue information to the General Distribution Portal to be able to receive additional general distribution funds and agree to the Terms and Conditions for this additional distribution.

Click here to read the full article.


CMS Reevaluates Accelerated Payment Program And Suspends Advance Payment Program

April 27, 2020

An Accelerated/Advance Payment is intended to provide necessary funds when there is an interruption in claim submission. The expedited payments are offered in circumstances including natural disasters or national emergences, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary loan programs are available to both Part A and Part B providers/suppliers as resource to assist with cash flow disruptions.  
 
Effective April 26th, 2020, CMS will not be accepting any new applications for the Advance Payment Program and will be reevaluating all pending and new applications for the Accelerated Payment Program. Currently, suspension for the Advance Payment Program applies to Part B suppliers.
 
According to the release by CMS, “Since expanding the programs on March 28, 2020, CMS approved over 21,000 applications totaling $59.6 billion in payments to Part A providers, which includes hospitals. For Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners and durable medical equipment suppliers, CMS approved almost 24,000 applications advancing $40.4 billion in payments.”

While the Advance Payment Program may be suspended for suppliers, there are still other opportunities available for funding. Stay tuned for further updates. For any questions related to the Accelerated/Advance Payment Program, please reach out to Ronda Buhrmester at [email protected] or via phone/text at 217-493-5440.


Updated Q &A: How to Get a Small Business Loan Under the Paycheck Protection Program

April 23, 2020

On April 21, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, the $484 billion agreement to deliver more pandemic aid to small businesses and hospitals in addition to federal, state, and local coronavirus testing. The new loan program is separate from existing federal loan programs, including the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief loans. To learn about the SBA’s other relief programs, visit the SBA’s COVID-19 resource center.

Click here to view the updated Q&A regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.


VGM Releases Resource Tool for Economic Stimulus Programs

April 14, 2020

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially since the government began releasing details of various programs that they were offering through their various stimulus packages, there has been a flood of information coming at all of us. The government has released three separate stimulus packages with multiple programs and features embedded within each one, many of which are designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are being impacted negatively by COVID-19. Click HERE for more information and to view the resource tool.


CMS Waivers and Flexibilities

On March 30, CMS announces new waivers and rules to help healthcare providers. See information below:


HME Guide to Continued Patient Care

April 7, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic has turned our country’s healthcare delivery system upside down. Remote diagnostics, telehealth, remote patient setup, training and compliance/management programs will all play an essential role. In this guide you will find a list of preferred VGM partners along with a summary of the resources and services offered by each of them.


Key Health Organizations Recommend:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Practice social distancing

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