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Employment Law Update

COVID-19, DACA, discrimination and immigration developments

By Mike O’Brien bio EEOC says no to COVID-19 antibody testing: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently (6/17/20) updated its COVID-19 guidance to indicate that employers should not be requiring employees to submit to antibody testing. Here is the verbatim Q&A (found at EEOC Guidance): Question: (A.7.): CDC said in its Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employees to re-enter the workplace? Answer: No. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody… . . . read more.

CMS

Physician Compare Preview Period open until Aug. 20

The Physician Compare 60-day Preview Period is officially open as of June 22. You can now preview your 2018 Quality Payment Program performance information before it will appear on Physician Compare profile pages and in the Downloadable Database. You can access the secured Preview through the Quality Payment Program website. Access the resource below on how to preview your data: · Physician Compare Preview Period User Guide For additional assistance with accessing the Quality Payment Program website, or obtaining your EIDM user role, contact the Quality Payment Program service center at QPP@cms.hhs.gov. To learn more about the 2018 Quality Payment Program performance information that is available for preview as well as the 2017 clinician utilization data that will be added to the Downloadable Database, download these documents from the Physician Compare Initiative page: · Clinician Performance… . . . read more.

EMPLOYERS FOOT THE BILL

Feds say insurers not required to pay for employer return to work COVID-19 testing

Since the public health emergency began, the US government has taken the position that insurers shouldn’t be allowed to make consumers pay for COVID-19 lab tests. But now comes news that insurers will not be put in that same position with regard to return to work screening conducted on employees by their employers. FFCRA rules for COVID-19 test payment The key piece of federal relief legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), required insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without imposing any copayments, deductibles, coinsurance or other patient cost-sharing. But the rule (Section 6001 of FFCRA) rule applied only to tests deemed “medically appropriate” by a healthcare provider. The key question: Would insurers also have to foot the bill for screening tests not used for diagnosis and treatment? Apparently, the… . . . read more.

COVID-19

So, your employee wants to stay on unemployment

By Paul Edwards bio It’s been a few of months of COVID chaos and business owners across America are thinking about what it’s going to take to reopen their businesses—and the economy, in general. Of course, the first piece of that equation involves recalling your employees who have been temporarily furloughed or laid off. And, since one portion of the CARES Act included an additional $600 per week to anyone collecting unemployment benefits, one common question we’re hearing is, “What if my employees refuse to come back to work because they want to keep collecting unemployment?” Usually, this question seems to be based on a misunderstanding of how unemployment benefits work. Generally speaking, if your employees refuse work in favor of collecting unemployment benefits, they will likely not be eligible for… . . . read more.

CMS

Guidance on allowance of telehealth encounters in eCQMs now available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted guidance on the allowance of telehealth encounters for the Eligible Professional and Eligible Clinician electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) used in CMS quality reporting programs for the 2020 and 2021 performance periods. Guidance provided applies to eCQMs used in each of the following programs: Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs) APM: Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) APM: Primary Care First (PCF) Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program for Eligible Professionals Measures are not eligible for 2021 reporting unless and until they are proposed and finalized through notice-and-comment rulemaking for each applicable program. Where to find the guidance on allowance of telehealth encounters The guidance is available on the eCQI Resource Center in… . . . read more.

YOUR CAREER

Job searching during a pandemic

By Lynne Curry bio The career worst has happened. You lost your job during a pandemic. You suffer through the “sorry to tell you” call from your supervisor. When he says “take care of yourself,” you respond, “You take care too.” Then you sit frozen. When every employer is furloughing or laying or workers, how the heck are you supposed to get a new job? You spend the hours it takes to sign up for unemployment, and circle the date on your calendar when you need to have a new job. You spend a day cleaning up your resume and the next three days sending it out to every job you find posted in Indeed.com. No employer calls you. You call a few of your still-employed friends. They check with… . . . read more.

CODING ALERT

Physicians should consider these overlooked codes

By Lisa Eramo bio It’s a common complaint heard among primary care physicians: Evaluation and management (E/M) codes don’t adequately capture the time, skill, and resources necessary to plan and coordinate care for patients with complex medical needs. Although new, streamlined E/M guidelines for 2021 may help, several existing remedies can enable physicians to capture additional revenue for the services they provide. More specifically, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a list of 58 CPT codes that fall under the category of “longitudinal comprehensive care planning” (LCCP) for Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness. These codes include elements of shared decision-making through interdisciplinary care as well as development of a care plan to address the following: Progression of the disease and treatment options Beneficiary’s goals,… . . . read more.

COVID-19

Telemedicine calls for new etiquette guidelines

By Dr. Neil Baum bio Coronavirus has changed the playing field and methodology of caring for patients. We no longer will be seeing all our patients in our offices. Also, there has been a relaxation of the restrictions, such as HIPAA, for using telemedicine and now, or the first time, there are codes and reimbursements that make it possible to be compensated for virtual care. Just as there are proper behaviors expected of physicians who are face-to-face with patients, there is a new code of behavior for telemedicine. Even though telemedicine appointments are becoming popular, video conferencing etiquette can be a challenge to many physicians. I would like to offer a few suggestions for making your telemedicine visits more professional. Use good gear Use the top-of-the line equipment. Even though… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

Choosing an automated compliance partner

By Kristi Williams bio Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious.  And sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see what has been right in front of you all along.  Such is the case with automation in healthcare. Today, healthcare organizations find themselves continuously challenged to keep up with changing regulatory requirements and to ensure that their business practices adhere to external rules and internal controls. That responsibility falls directly on the shoulders of the compliance department who is tasked with identifying risks that an organization faces and implementing controls to protect the company from those risks. The need for an effective compliance program is not new.  It has been understood by health plans for years.  What is new, however, is that an increasing number of health plans are turning to automation… . . . read more.

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Life science companies and healthcare providers partnering for value-based patient care

By Mal Milburn bio In the era of value-based reimbursement, healthcare professionals are constantly evaluating strategies to improve patient care while simultaneously decreasing overhead costs.   Increasingly, medical practices turning to life science reps as a critical part of the answer. According to recent research from DRG Digital Manhattan Research, 74% of physicians are looking to spend more time with life science reps, as rep partnerships have been shown to improve outcomes and reduce costs.   Outcome improvement: Life science companies are developing cutting-edge drugs and technologies at increasing rates, and their reps are equipped with the latest, most comprehensive information about these advancements. Reps are able to bring this education directly to providers in their practice, as the innovations are released. Reps also provide important updates about new drug… . . . read more.


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