COVID-19 RURAL DIGEST
MARCH 24, 2020
The emergence of COVID-19 has caused an almost unprecedented amount of change in the framework surrounding rural care. The CORH team is dedicated to providing regular updates on this evolving situation to healthcare leaders across the country.
As the pandemic unfolds, we foresee sending out updates twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays with new developments.
As of 3/23/2020, the CDC’s Number of Confirmed Cases of COVID-19: 33,404
See a city-by-city map of confirmed cases: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
CMS offering deferment and exemptions on quality reporting during pandemic
- New policy pushes back data submission deadlines and makes certain submissions optional; news release has full information on schedules and guideline.
- Read the full release: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-relief-clinicians-providers-hospitals-and-facilities-participating-quality-reporting
Hospitals nationwide are urged to postpone elective surgery
- The CDC advises considering local hospital capacity to prevent the postponement of vital surgeries. Rural areas can expect to see later peaks, so these surgeries may be better now.
- Certain states have begun mandating the postponement of elective surgeries; check with the proper responding state agency to ensure compliance.
- Read more: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-releases-recommendations-adult-elective-surgeries-non-essential-medical-surgical-and-dental
CMS approves Medicaid Section 1135 waivers for 11 new states
- States are being offered flexibility in a wide range of waivers, including temporarily suspending prior authorization requirements, and modifying certain timeline requirements for state fair hearings and appeals.
- Check with proper state’s waiver to determine proper course of action.
- Read more: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-approves-medicaid-section-1135-waivers-11-additional-states-response-covid-19
NRHA announces list of free trainings and resources to providers and hospitals to combat pandemic
- Critical Access Hospital Transitional Care: An essential partnership and pathway for Acute Care Hospitals to create desperately needed capacity during COVID-19 Pandemic: https://www.hatchbuck.co/XREz0
- Relias Preparing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Influenza Free Online Training & Resources: https://www.relias.com/topic/coronavirus
EMR providers beginning to launch pro-bono tools to combat pandemic spread
- Aetna Health: https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/athenahealth-adds-mobile-decision-tool-epocrates-covid-19
- Caregility: https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/caregility-unveils-mobile-telehealth-app-gives-it-away-fight-pandemic
AHA seeking up to 100 billion to aide hospitals
- AHA, AMA, and ANA request additional funds from for hospitals from Congress to offset costs of COVID-19 treatment.
- Read the request: https://www.aha.org/system/files/media/file/2020/03/aha-ama-ana-urge-congress-provide-funding-hospitals-health-systems-nurses-physicians-response-to-covid-19-3-18-2020.pdf
Shortage of critical PPE beginning to intensify
- Shortages can be expected to intensify throughout the next month.
- Shortage items include but are not limited to: pharmaceuticals, PPE, surgical equipment, and respirators.
- The CDC has published guidelines on how to stretch out PPE supplies: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirators-strategy/crisis-alternate-strategies.html
CDC offering COVID-19 clinical decision support through website
- Send potential patients to CDC website to offer guidance on seeking treatment and testing.
- CDS: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/index.html
NRHA develops “Call First” toolkit to promote patient information around COVID-19
- Access the toolkit here.
FDA warning of fraudulent COVID-19 test kits
- Consumers are warned to only use government approved test kits for COVID-19.
- There are no FDA approved at-home tests for purchase as of 03/23/2020.
- Hospitals can expect false positives from fraudulent tests and are urged to steer patients away from such measures.
- Read more: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-alerts-consumers-about-unauthorized-fraudulent-covid-19-test-kits
CMS unveils new nursing home inspection process
- Read for detailed description: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-findings-kirkland-nursing-home-and-new-targeted-plan-healthcare-facility-inspections
Check with proper State Board of Pharmacy for information on COVID-19 prescriptions
- Pharmaceutical measures are still in early stages.
- Two promising treatments, Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine, are still unapproved for covid-19, but clinical trials are ongoing.
- Physicians are being offered wide-latitude with “off-label” prescriptions.
- A full list of Boards of Pharmacy is available at: https://nabp.pharmacy/boards-of-pharmacy/