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Healthcare Policy Updates

Policymakers are continuously creating new ways to respond to the pandemic—legislation quickly becomes law, and regulatory agencies announce changes almost daily. To help members keep pace, AAOS is regularly monitoring this activity and promoting resources that provide clarity and guidance on implementation.

News 

May 15 - The House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (H.R. 6800), which includes over $3 trillion in funding for state and local governments, hospitals and physicians, payments to individuals, and other assistance. View AAOS Summary

April 30 -
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued another round of regulatory waivers and rule changes with the goal of increasing diagnostic testing and access to medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AAOS Office of Government Relations has developed an overview for members with high-level key points: View the highlights

April 24 - President Donald J. Trump signed a $484 billion COVID-19 relief package, the fourth passed by Congress, that provides $370 billion for small businesses and replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program. View AAOS Summary

April 22 - 
The Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly $165 million to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities. Read the HHS press release, Check out AAOS Guidance 

April 21 - The Federal Communications Commission released guidance for healthcare providers applying for funding from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. View the guidance, Check out AAOS' FAQ

April 13 - 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), together with the Departments of Labor and the Treasury, issued guidance to ensure Americans with private health insurance have coverage of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic testing and certain other related services, including antibody testing, at no cost. View the guidance

April 10 - The Department of Health and Human Services released details on its plan to deliver the initial $30 billion in relief funding to providers from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Learn more about the Provider Relief Funds, Check out AAOS' FAQ

March 30 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issued an array of new rules and waivers of federal requirements to ensure that local hospitals and health systems have the capacity to absorb and effectively manage potential surges of COVID-19 patients. Read the CMS press release 

March 28 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded the Accelerated and Advance Payments Program for providers and suppliers during the COVID-19 emergency. Read the CMS Fact Sheet  

March 27 - The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed into law, which includes two small business relief programs to mitigate economic impactRead the overview 

March 26 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization that allows ventilators, anesthesia gas machines modified for use as ventilators, and positive pressure breathing devices modified for use as ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors, and ventilator accessories to be used in healthcare settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. FDA Emergency Use Authorizations 

March 22 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Announced Relief for Clinicians, Providers, Hospitals and Facilities Participating in Quality Reporting Programs in Response to COVID-19. Read the CMS press release 

March 18 - Congress passed HR Bill 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Read the full overview here  

Resources  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) hosts regular calls with a variety of clinicians, hospitals, other facilities, and states in an effort to keep stakeholders updated on our COVID-19 efforts. Access call recordings and transcripts here. 

The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided an FAQ resource on telemedicine and HIPAA: FAQs on Telehealth and HIPAA During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency 

 Learn more about how HIPAA violations have been waived for providers using FaceTime, Skype or other “everyday communication” channels to treat patients remotely: Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency