The Rundown by inforMD | Week of 3.30.2020

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to Expedite Payments for Medicare Providers

CMS announced that the Trump Administration has authorized “expansion of its accelerated and advance[d] payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers, to ensure they have the resources needed to combat the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).” In order to qualify for accelerated or advanced payments, providers must “have billed Medicare for claims within 180 days immediately prior to the date of signature on the provider’s/supplier’s request form, not be in bankruptcy, not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation, and not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare overpayments.”

>> Read More: Trump Administration Provides Financial Relief for Medicare Providers

Retired Physicians Return to Work in New York to Help Fight COVID-19

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that, after issuing a call for healthcare workers to help fight COVID-19 in New York, “an additional 12,000 health professionals have signed up as part of the State’s surge,” which “brings the total number of volunteers to more than 52,000.” The announcement states that more than “8,600 mental health professionals have now signed up to provide free online mental health services” for New Yorkers. Additionally, the American Medical Association (AMA) has released guidelines for “senior and retired physicians who may wish to return to work or are called upon to do so” during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

>> Read More: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces State Is Scouting New Sites for Temporary Hospitals Downstate

Opioid Prescriptions for Family Members Associated With Overdoses in Young Adults

A cohort study from the JAMA Network found that “exposure to family members’ prescribed opioids was associated with increased risk of pharmaceutical opioid overdose” in adolescents and young adults. Researchers studied “72,042 index adolescents and young adults aged 11 to 26 years … nested in 45,145 family units” and discovered that “prescriptions to 1 or more family members and to index youth were associated with higher rates of overdose” compared to young cohorts that had no exposure to a family member’s prescription opioid medicine. Furthermore, “comorbidities were more common among youth exposed to opioid prescriptions.” The study suggests that clinicians “consider counseling patients about the risks of opioids to youth in their families.”

>> Read More: Association of Opioids Prescribed to Family Members With Opioid Overdose Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Study Shows Patients Prefer Physicians Who Share Their Notes

A new study from the JAMA Network shows that the majority of patients stated that access to their physician’s notes “will affect their future choice of a healthcare provider.” A number of patients also stated that having open access to the notes their provider takes during their visits “improves their trust, helps them feel more in control of their care, is important in helping them to understand what their clinicians are thinking, and helps them adhere to treatment plans and medications more effectively.”

>> Read More: The Views and Experiences of Clinicians Sharing Medical Record Notes With Patients

CMS to Make Regulatory Changes to Address Patient and Physician Needs During COVID-19

CMS issued an “array of temporary regulatory waivers and new rules to equip the American healthcare system with maximum flexibility” to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the new waivers, CMS will allow “communities to take advantage of local ambulatory surgery centers that have canceled elective surgeries, per federal recommendations,” “hospitals and healthcare systems to increase their workforce capacity by removing barriers for physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to be readily hired from the local community as well as those licensed from other states without violating Medicare rules,” eliminate “paperwork requirements” to allow “clinicians to spend more time with patients,” and provide more than 80 additional services “via telehealth.”

>> Read More: Trump Administration Makes Sweeping Regulatory Changes to Help U.S. Healthcare System Address COVID-19 Patient Surge

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