March 27, 2020
The U.S. Department for Health & Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance on March 24, 2020 to ensure that first responders and others have the information needed to treat the patient and to protect themselves and prevent spreading coronavirus while also complying with HIPAA. This guidance clarifies how health care providers, health departments, and first responders may share information about individuals who have been infected with or exposed to coronavirus. The guidance explains when a HIPAA covered entity may disclose protected health information, such as the name or other identifying information about individuals, without their HIPAA authorization, and provides helpful examples.
March 20, 2020
- Stimulus Package: The United States Congress is currently looking to pass a 1 trillion dollar stimulus package that would include aid to the healthcare industry, including elimination of the restriction on Medicare payments this year and continued limitation on restrictions on the use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation is not yet final and is expected to change as the debate in Congress continues.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201: This legislation includes several provisions applicable to healthcare providers, including the following.
- Medicaid Supplement: The Act provides a temporary, 6.2 percentage-point increase to the federal government’s share of Medicaid matching funds (known as the Federal medical assistance percentage or FMAP).
- Health Care Provider Exception: Employers who are health care providers (which includes hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) or emergency responders may elect to exclude their employees from the public health emergency leave provisions of the Act.