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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: 

Reporting Requirements For Provider Relief Fund Recipients

August 5, 2020

HHS has released additional details regarding the reporting requirements that recipients of the Provider Relief Fund will be expected to adhere to in order to comply with the Terms and Conditions of receiving the funds. Additional reporting details will be coming by August 17th, which should include a reporting template that providers can use, but here is what we know right now. Read more.


Medicare Providers Who Did Not Apply For Round 2 Of The $50B General Distribution Will Get A Second Chance To Apply

August 4, 2020

Those providers who missed the window the first time around for additional funding from the remaining General Distribution will now have the opportunity to submit that application again starting the week of Aug. 10, and will remain open until Aug. 28th. Read more.


Deadline For Providers To Apply For Medicaid/CHIP Relief Payments Extended To August 28

August 3, 2020

The deadline to apply for the HHS Provider Relief Fund for Medicaid/CHIP providers who did not receive any relief payments during the Medicare-based General Distribution has been extended until August 28th. Providers who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, meet all of the other eligibility requirements, and can agree to the terms and conditions associated with the program are encouraged to apply for this relief fund. Read more.


Total Number Of Supporters To The Letter To Pause The Competitive Bidding Program Closes At 101

August 3, 2020

A valiant effort by the HME industry secured 101 signatures on the letter to pause the competitive bidding program throughout the COVID-19 PHE. Grassroots outreach, as well as many encouragements from the state associations, helped push this along. Thanks also go out to Rep. McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Loebsack and their staff for leading these efforts yet again. Well done everyone!! Read more.


HIDA Daily Clips 

August 3, 2020

A recent update from Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) included updates on the public health emergency (PHE) and where the healthcare industry stands. Some articles to note include:

Read the full message from HIDA.


Medicare Updates The Provider Relief FAQs - New Effective Date

July 28, 2020

Even though the public health emergency continues, CMS has given direction to resume accreditation and reaccreditation requirements. The updated FAQ was just released on Monday, July 28th showing an effective date of July 6th. Read more.


HHS Renews Public Health Emergency

July 23, 2020

On Thursday, July 23rd, HHS Secretary Alex Azar tweeted, “Today I signed a renewal of the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration. The Administration will continue its whole-of-America response to ensure Americans can get the care they need throughout the pandemic.” 

The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) was initially declared on January 31, 2020 (with acknowledgement that it has existed since January 27th). Any PHE declaration can only last for 90 days at a time, but can be extended or renewed at the end of each 90 day period. 

Continue reading here.


More Details on Medicare Audits Beginning August 3

July 21, 2020

In recent meetings with CMS, The van Halem Group has learned that while the date to begin medical review functions is August 3rd, there will likely be a delayed time frame before audit requests officially go out. CMS is currently working to develop instructions for contractors and intends to take a "toe in the water” approach, as opposed to opening up a flood gate of audits. Click here to read more.


Mass Adjustments From CARES Act For NON-RURAL Areas

July 17, 2020

Part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included reimbursement rate changes for certain zip codes and HCPCS codes.Let’s start with the rural and contiguous areas where the 50/50 blended rate that was initially set to expire December 31, 2020 and is now being extended beyond 2020 and for the duration of the public health emergency (PHE). This applies to beneficiaries that have a rural zip code according to Medicare FFS and the HCPCS code is part of the former Competitive Bid program (CBP), does not apply to all HCPCS codes. Read More.


$10,000 Advance Forgivable Grants no Longer Available with EIDL Applications

July 13, 2020

The $20B that was set aside for advance forgivable grants of up to $10,000 for any business that applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) has been exhausted. Read More.
 


Health Plan Policy Changes Update 7.13.20

July 13, 2020

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


Updated Economic Stimulus Programs Tool

July 13, 2020

We have updated our summary level descriptions of six main economic programs with supplemental information provided in case you want to dive deeper into any of them. Click here for details.


Updated FAQs on COVID-19 Provider Burden Relief and More Details on Prior Authorizations

July 10, 2020

August 3rd seems to be an important date for CMS. Updates from the “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Provider Burden Relief Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs),” and the DME MACs, SMRC, and RAC will be able to resume audit activity.  Prior Authorizations will resume as business as usual for PMDs and Group 2 Support Surfaces. Also the lower limb prosthetics (6 codes) will begin prior authorization activity with a phased approach with Phase 1 starting Sept 1, 2020. Read More.


New Deadline to Apply for the PPP

July 6, 2020

On Saturday, July 4th, President Trump signed a bill that would extend the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program loan to August 8th. Read More
 


Vlog from the Desk of Ronda Buhrmester: CMN DIF ABN

July 2, 2020

Check out the latest vlog from Ronda Buhrmester on CMN DIF ABN. Watch here.


Economic Injury Disaster Loan Available to ALL Businesses Again!

June 18, 2020

The SBA has announced that their Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are once again available to ALL businesses. With the passage of the CARES Act, these loans were modified slightly to include a forgivable advance payment of up to $10,000. Read More.


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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