Hot Topics: Current Issues Affecting Members

COVID-19 Practice Management Updates

Please see below for information about: 
  • SBA low-interest loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 
  • DMHC orders health plans to pay in-office rates for telemedicine/telephone visits 
  • Reminder: Federal HIPAA privacy laws waived, but State laws still in place 
  • New ACCMA podcast on getting telemedicine up and running quickly 
  • Assistance for sick/quarantined employees of small businesses 
  • Payroll tax flexibility 

 

Small Businesses and Small Business Employees SBA Loans   

Small businesses in Alameda and Contra Costa counties are among those eligible for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. For more information and to apply for SBA loans, please visit the Disaster Loan website.  Click here for the official announcement from the SBA.

 

Plans Must Reimburse for Telehealth at Same Rate as in Person Services  

Today, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued an “All Plan Letter” ordering health plans to pay in-office rates for telemedicine/telephone visits. Plans are required to reimburse providers at the same rate for telehealth services as they would for services provided in person. If the service is one that would otherwise have been provided in-person but is now being provided via telehealth, the plans should reimburse for that service as if it were provided in person. The letter ( APL 20-009 - Reimbursement for Telehealth Services ) also says that plans must reimburse a service provided telephonically at the same rate as services provided via video. The letter requires plans to comply immediately. However, the California Medical Association (CMA) is seeking clarification from DMHC on how that affects services provided prior to today via telehealth as a result of the state of emergency. It’s important to note that practices must ensure that their documentation matches the requirements of the CPT code they are billing and appropriate use of the place of service code, 02, telehealth. 

 

Reminder: Federal HIPAA Privacy Laws Waived, but State Laws Remain in Place 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will waive penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients in good faith through everyday communications technologies, such as FaceTime or Skype, during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. CMA is also reviewing whether any state laws would need to be waived for these forms of telehealth to be utilized for California patients insured through Medi-Cal and commercial payors. 

 

New ACCMA Podcast on Getting Telemedicine Up and Running Quickly   

ACCMA recently recorded a podcast with David Ginsberg, co-founder and president of PrivaPlan Associates, Inc., to establish how physicians may approach telemedicine and how to quickly incorporate telemedicine into their practices. David Ginsberg has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry with expertise in HIPAA, medical practice management and regulatory compliance. He is the official HIPAA advisor to the ACCMA and the California Medical Association (CMA). The podcast can be accessed online at learning.accma.org . 

 

Assistance for Sick/Quarantined Employees of Small Businesses  

If you are an employee of a small business and are sick or quarantined you can apply for disability benefits. Please visit the California State Department of Employment Development website for more information. If you are an employee and have experienced reduced work hours you can apply for unemployment benefits. 

 

Payroll Tax Flexibility  

Employers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for an extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center. 

 

Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886 

Hearing-impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565 

Outside the U.S. or Canada: 1-916-464-3502 

 

We are waiting for more information regarding Federal Tax relief from the IRS. Taxpayers are encouraged to use  www.irs.gov  to find answers to their tax questions. Qualifying taxpayers can use the FreeFile program without cost.

 

Additional Resources   

Oakland:  COVID-19 Business and Worker Resources  

San Leandro:  Community Development  

Alameda:  Resources for Businesses and Workers Impacted by COVID-19  

Emeryville:  Business Resource Guide  

Piedmont:  COVID-19 Information  

Albany:  COVID-19 Response & Resources  

Berkeley:  COVID-19  

 

California Medical Association:  Financial Assistance  

American Medical Association:  Financial Planning  

First Republic Bank:  Small Business Loan  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers