Weekly CTC-RI Briefing: Resources & Updates During COVID-19 Crisis

  • 20 Mar 2020

CTC-RI is providing weekly the latest health-related news, media announcements, resources, and updates for our CTC-RI practice and community members during the COVID-19 crisis. This will be provided to you in an anticipated weekly briefing. We encourage you to refer to specific health plan policies for further details on billing policies and guidance using the links provided at the bottom of this briefing.

Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements :

03/18/2020 -- Governor Raimondo announced her executive order, effective immediately, directing all health insurers operating in RI to cover visits conducted by phone or online. Her order applies to all "medically appropriate" telehealth visits, including primary and specialty care, as well as mental and behavioral health care. Virtual visits must be reimbursed at the same rate as an office visit. 

03/18/2020 -- U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse voted to approve a deal negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that will put supports immediately in place for Rhode Island workers affected by the economic fallout from COVID-19. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will also make coronavirus testing free. Rhode Island's Medicaid program is expected to receive roughly $150 million in addition federal funding through the legislation. The funding will assist in covering the costs of health services across the state, including telemedicine.

03/17/2020 -- President Trump announced that telehealth services will be covered under Medicare so patients can access treatment while in self-isolation. Specifically, he noted Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or video conference at no additional cost, including FaceTime and Skype. Trump is invoking Medicare 1135 waivers, giving CMS authority to waive certain Medicare requirements so that care can be provided outside of traditional in-person doctor visits and to eliminate telehealth payment constraints in Medicare. Further, penalties for violating patient privacy under HIPAA law will not be enforced to allow doctors greater flexibility to use telehealth services. Clinicians can bill immediately for dates of service starting March 6, 2020.


Updated Practice Resources from State Agencies, Insurers, and Organizations

RI Department of Health: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/for/providers/

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

CMS: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/president-trump-expands-tele...

OHIC & RI Medicaid: http://www.ohic.ri.gov/ohic-bulletins-notices.php

SAMHSA: https://www.samhsa.gov/

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI: https://www.bcbsri.com/providers/medicalpolicies

Neighborhood Health Plan of RI: https://www.nhpri.org/coronavirus-update-covid-19-provider-guidance/

Tufts Health Plan: https://tuftshealthplan.com/provider/provider-information/coronavirus-up...

UnitedHealthcare: https://www.uhcprovider.com/