DOH Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Technical Assistance Call - Tomorrow

The next in the series of DOH EVV Technical Assistance calls is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5th from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Please use the following link to register prior to the event: https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?MTID=e54a3ff0ade7a040d25a22d01836fe4d4 

Additional details can be found here: https://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/redesign/evv/index.htm

New York City Council to Hold Hearing on Essential Workers Bill of Rights Tomorrow

Tomorrow, May 5, the New York City Council is holding a virtual remote hearing on a package of legislation called the Essential Workers Bill of Rights which would provide expansive new benefits to essential workers including premium pay.   

HCP President and CEO, Kathy Febraio plans to testify on behalf of HCP members.

In HCP’s testimony, Febraio made clear that the home care industry values its workers and strives to keep them safely employed. Our work together with our incredible workforce focuses on keeping patients safe in their homes and communities. This is especially important now when the elderly and vulnerable populations are particularly unsafe in congregate care settings. Home care is there. 

The testimony highlighted that while the goals of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights are laudable, at this moment in history, these proposed mandates would likely cripple the already fragile home care industry. To be emphatically clear, HCP and its provider members proudly stand with our heroic workers and their families. We are fighting on their behalf day by day and hour by hour to ensure these brave and dedicated frontline workers have the critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and recognition they deserve and sorely need. 

The testimony explained that HCP is gravely concerned by the “Essential Workers’ Bill of Rights”. This series of bills would provide expansive new benefits to essential workers. During these very uncertain times the home care industry is encountering several financial and operational challenges, not the least of which have arisen from policies newly enacted in the State budget. Moreover, as providers face mounting expenditures to obtain personal protective equipment in the open market, they are encountering prices that have increased tenfold or more.  

HCP strongly urges the New York City Council to withdraw this legislation, unless or until there is City, State, and/or Federal financial support to fund its mandates. 
Anything less will cripple our already fragile industry.

Adding new and significant financial burdens to home care employers, in addition to those recently added by the state and federal government, at this time undoubtedly would be seriously detrimental and hasten our demise. Without a significant appropriation of financial assistance from the city, state or federal government it will be nearly impossible for home care providers, that are currently operating on razor thin margins, in the face of significant state budget cuts, to provide the additional benefits contemplated by this legislation. 

HCP, on behalf of its provider members, respectfully opposes this legislation. In addition to providing this testimony, HCP also sent a letter last month to the New York City Mayor and Council President outlining the opposition of the home care industry. HCP also urged its members providing services in New York City to take action to ensure the Mayor and City Council are aware of their opposition.    

Legislative Health Committee Chairs Send Letter to Governor Urging Support of the Home Care Industry

With the Assistance of HCP retained lobbyist, Bob Reid of Reid McNally Savage, at HCP’s request the Chairs of the Legislative Health Committees, Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, jointly sent a letter to Governor Cuomo urging support for the Home Care Industry during the COVID crisis.

The letter urged Governor Cuomo that as home care agencies struggle to find and afford PPE in the open market, with orders being delayed by suppliers, and smaller agencies being outbid by others in the health care sector, agencies need financial assistance and guidance on procuring PPE for home care patients and workers.

Governor Cuomo Outlines Steps to Reopening

Today, Governor Cuomo outlined additional guidelines for when regions can re-open. The state will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can re-open:

1) New Infections: Based on guidelines from the CDC, regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In regions with few COVID cases, the region cannot exceed 15 net new total hospitalizations or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In order to monitor the potential spread of infection in a region, a region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day.
2) Health Care Capacity: Every region must have the health care capacity to handle a potential surge in cases. Regions must have at least 30 percent total hospital and ICU beds available. This is coupled with the new requirement that hospitals have at least 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
3) Diagnostic Testing Capacity: Each region must have the capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. The state is rapidly expanding capacity statewide to help all regions meet this threshold.
4) Contact Tracing Capacity: Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region. The state is currently building an army of contact tracers with Mayor Bloomberg to meet the needs of each region statewide.
The Governor also outlined which industries and businesses can open in each phase of the state's re-opening plan. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.

The Governor also outlined new safety precautions that each business must put in place upon re-opening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to:

Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;
Enact social distancing protocols;
Restrict non-essential travel for employees;
Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;
Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;
Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;
Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
Develop liability processes.

 The Governor also announced that more than one million New Yorkers have already been tested for COVID-19 to date.

The Governor also announced New York's National Guard has made nearly 300,000 testing kits to collect samples, 60,000 of which are being sent to labs and hospitals across New York State.

The Governor also announced the special enrollment period through the NY State of Health - Health Plan Marketplace will remain open through June 15, 2020.

DOH Releases Updated Guidance Regarding Telehealth

Friday evening, the Department of Health released updated guidance for Medicaid providers regarding the use of Telehealth, including Telephonic, services during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The Department has also updated the related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. These documents are available on the DOH website at https://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/covid19/index.htm, or via the links below. 

Medicaid Update: https://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/program/update/2020/no05_2020-03_covid-19_telehealth.htm
Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/covid19/faqs.htm

A summary of the changes is provided below.

Clarification regarding payment parity for telehealth and telephonic services
Provides additional details regarding billing and coding instructions, including POS and Modifier codes to use in each of the telephonic billing lanes
Clarifies definitions of telehealth, telemedicine and telephonic services.
Clarifies billing rules for Article 28 services with a Professional Component
Revises billing rules for FQHCs to allow wrap payments for licensed practitioners providing services via telehealth or telephone
Clarifies requirements for Medicaid Managed Care Plans
Provides additional links to other resources

This guidance is intended to provide broad expansion for the ability of all Medicaid providers in all situations to use a wide variety of communication methods to deliver services remotely during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, to the extent it is appropriate for the care of the member. 

Telehealth services will be reimbursed at parity with existing off-site visit payments (clinics) or face-to-face visits (i.e., 100% of Medicaid payment rates). This guidance relaxes rules on the types of clinicians, facilities, and services eligible for billing under telehealth rules.

DOH to Hold Webinar Regarding Medicaid Telehealth Guidance May 5th

On Tuesday, May 5, 2020 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, the Department of Health Office of Health Insurance Programs will host a webinar to review Comprehensive Guidance Regarding Use of Telehealth including Telephonic Services During the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

To register for the Webinar please visit https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?MTID=e5f212ed128ffe5f173d478348226385e

This webinar will provide an overview of the guidance and cover frequently asked questions. Additional questions will be addressed by webinar participants, as time permits. A recording of the webinar will be also made available on the Department’s website. 

HCP Holds Webinar: Telehealth During the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond 

Thursday, May 7, 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm 

In addition to the State Telehealth Webinar on May 5th HCP will hold its own Telehealth Webinar. Executive Orders and State Guidance have ensured home care providers could responsibly use telehealth to continue to provide care and services to the vulnerable patient population and meet critical NYS regulations. What are the current regulations that specify the use of telehealth in the NYS Licensed Home Care setting? How do providers currently use telehealth to promote patient safety? What are the current telehealth best practices and how does the industry prepare for upcoming changes in the delivery of home care services? 

Join this program to learn how your colleagues are utilizing telehealth options now and preparing for the transformation of home care services beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

This is a free webinar. Please register for the free webinar here.

NYS Launches Contact Tracing Program

The State has launched a new ambitious and urgent effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.  

The aim of this initiative will be to call every person diagnosed with COVID-19, establish all contacts of this person, and proceed to call and maintain ongoing communication with every contact. In addition, the team will support the isolation and quarantine of individuals, as appropriate in cooperation with the Local Health Department. This includes virtual needs checks and referral to community resources as needed. This contact tracing initiative is in tandem with statewide-wide efforts to increase testing, improve communication and knowledge of effective strategies to reduce transmission, and implementation of isolation and quarantine. This will fortify efforts to control the pandemic in NYS.

New York State plans to hire a team of 6,400 to 17,000 staff statewide, depending on the projected number of COVID-19 cases, to support the NYS Department of Health (DOH) and Local Health Departments (LHDs) to perform contact tracing in communities across NYS. To meet the scale and scope of this nation-leading program, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Vital Strategies: Resolve to Save Lives and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will support building the team through a three-step process: recruitment, interviewing and training.

Our first goal is to help the state identify and recruit a robust Contact Tracing team to be a part of this ambitious and urgent effort. To be considered, candidates must be a New York State resident 18 years of age or older; meet the position description requirement; go through an interview process; and complete a training and certification program.
New York State is looking to immediately fill the following roles:

Contact Tracers: reach out to the contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to assess symptoms, ensure compliance with quarantine and determine social support needs.
Team Supervisors:  lead a team of 20 Contact Tracers, and one Community Support Specialist who are working remotely using digital tools.
Community Support Specialists: work with the team and the local health departments to address the physical/mental health, and social/human service needs of those contacted, especially those who are under isolation or quarantine.

Follow the link below if you or someone you know in New York State is interested in applying to be a part of the Contact Tracing team.

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help