CMS Announces the Creation of New COVID Treatment Codes, Payment for Counseling

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the creation of new procedure codes to allow the Medicare program and other insurers to track the use of remdesivir and convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19. The new codes will go into effect August 1 and will enable real-time surveillance on the effectiveness of the therapies. CMS also announced that reimbursement is now available for health care providers who counsel their patients on isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing when testing for COVID-19. Providers who already bill CMS for counseling services are eligible for the new payments and will use existing payment codes to bill for the services.

Medicare’s 55th Anniversary

Last Thursday marked the 55th anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs being signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Democrats marked the occasion by calling attention to their efforts to continue expanding and securing access to high-quality and affordable health care. In a post on Medium, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stated “It is our charge to further the underlying promise of Medicare and Medicaid by ensuring that health care is a right for all Americans…If I have the honor of becoming President, I look forward to fulfilling that promise — and to fighting to protect and expand Medicare and Medicaid for the next generation, and those to come.”

Hart Health Strategies COVID-19 Resources

Hart Health Strategies Inc. continues to update the following resources related to the coronavirus pandemic. Please remember to clear your cache to ensure you download the most recent documents.

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.7776 — To permit child care providers that receive payment for services provided under the of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to use a portion of such payment to purchase mental health supports necessary to protect the health of participating children and child care workers; Sponsor: Rep. Horn, Kendra S. [D-OK-5]; Committees: House - Education and Labor

H.R.7777 — To provide automatic forgiveness for paycheck protection program loans under $150,000, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Houlahan, Chrissy [D-PA-6]; Committees: House - Small Business

H.R.7780 — To authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to award grants to facilitate the funding of community-based mental health and substance use disorder services and peer support programs, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Kennedy, Joseph P., III [D-MA-4]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.7783 — To amend the CARES Act to expand a national awareness and outreach campaign to address the importance and safety of plasma donation, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Peters, Scott H. [D-CA-52]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.7791 — To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to revise certain regulations in relation to the Medicare shared savings program and other advanced alternative payment arrangements to encourage participation in such program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce 

H.R.7801 — To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to State, local, and Tribal public health departments to train and equip Federal public health reserve corps personnel to assist with testing, contact tracing, and treatment of COVID-19, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Fudge, Marcia L. [D-OH-11]; Committees: House - Transportation and Infrastructure; Energy and Commerce; Education and Labor; Armed Services 

S.4317 — A bill to lessen the burdens on interstate commerce by discouraging insubstantial lawsuits relating to COVID-19 while preserving the ability of individuals and businesses that have suffered real injury to obtain complete relief; Sponsor: Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX]; Committees: Senate – Judiciary 

S.4318 — A bill to provide assistance to American workers, families, and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic; Sponsor: Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]; Committees: Senate – Finance 

S.4320 — A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Shelby, Richard C. [R-AL]; Committees: Senate – Appropriations 

S.4321 — A bill to establish the Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loan and amend 7(a) loan guaranty program for recovery sector business concerns, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL]; Committees: Senate - Small Business and Entrepreneurship 

S.4322 — A bill to help Americans safely get back to school and back to work, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Alexander, Lamar [R-TN]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 

S.4324 — A bill to facilitate the availability, development, and production of domestic resources to meet national personal protective equipment and material needs, and ensure American leadership in advanced research and development and semiconductor manufacturing; Sponsor: Sen. Graham, Lindsey [R-SC]; Committees: Senate – Finance 

S.4329 — A bill to provide premium assistance for COBRA continuation coverage, church plan continuation coverage, and furloughed continuation coverage for individuals and their families; Sponsor: Sen. McSally, Martha [R-AZ]; Committees: Senate - Finance 

S.Res.662 — A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Public Health Week; Sponsor: Sen. Udall, Tom [DNM]; Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Voice Vote. 

S.4334 — A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to improve the process by which a member of the Armed Forces may be referred for a mental health evaluation; Sponsor: Sen. McSally, Martha [R-AZ]; Committees: Senate - Armed Services

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