OHA Healthcare Provider

COVID-19 Calls Start March 18

Because of the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority is setting up regular communications with providers to ensure they have the most current information. The OHA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dana Hargunani will begin hosting regular information sessions at least two times a week.

OHA Webinar for All Providers: Wednesday, March 18 from 1-2 pm:

  • COVID-19 testing guidelines
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Telehealth coverage
  • Clinical Triage
  • Hospital Surge Planning 

Register for the webinar here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4131162459321025547

You can submit questions for the OHA when you register for the webinar. The current capacity for Wednesday’s webinar/call is 1,000 participants. Everyone who registers will receive a link to the recording if they are not able to join live. We are working on solutions that would allow more participants.

"Oregon COVID-19 Response for Clinicians" Project ECHO

Also, this week, the "Oregon COVID-19 Response for Clinicians " Project ECHO (named for New Mexico's Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a weekly virtual interactive session, will begin on Thursday, 3/19, 12-1:30 pm. This is hosted by the Oregon ECHO Network at OHSU and will be staffed by Dr. Hargunani and Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County Health Officer and other invited content experts. They will provide the latest updates, share COVID-19 clinical cases and answer questions. For more information see this flyer or connect directly on Thursday here: https://zoom.us/j/575366462

Changes in Medicare Telehealth Services

In an effort to address the treatment of COVID-19, today the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) lifted Medicare restrictions on the use of certain telemedicine services. The goal of these changes is to allow patients to receive a wider range of healthcare services without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Medicare will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, Medicare has expanded telehealth services to all members. Previously telehealth services were limited to specific geographical areas. Patients can receive evaluation and management, mental health counseling, and preventative screening services from any location, including the patient’s home. 

Other changes include:

  • Medicare will not enforce prior relationship requirements.
  • Providers are allowed to reduce or waive copayments.
  • Penalties for HIPAA violations will be waived for providers that in good faith use communication platforms that are not normally HIPAA compliant, such as Skype or FaceTime.

Telehealth visits are reimbursed at the same rate as in-person visits. These changes will be applied retroactively to March 6 and will last through the duration of the public health emergency. The Medicare rules for virtual check-ins remain the same.

More Information on Telehealth Services

  • The OMA anticipates telemedicine guidance from the Oregon Health Authority soon.
  • The OMA is working with the Oregon Insurance Commissioner on guidance on any telehealth changes to commercial insurance regulations during this emergency.
  • CMS has released a fact sheet and an FAQ related to this announcement.
For more information on providing telehealth services, visit the AMA's online telemedicine guide.

PO Box 19388, Portland, OR 97280
Phone: (503) 222-9977  |  Fax: (503) 222-3164

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