Indiana’s Back On Track Plan to Reopen State Economy

by Kathie McDonald-McClure

On May 1, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb announced a 5-state roadmap to get Indiana “Back on Track” by July 4, 2020, Independence Day.  Since March 24, 2020, the state had been in Stage 1, with only essential manufacturing, construction, infrastructure, government, business, healthcare and other critical businesses and operations remaining been open, while K-12 school buildings were closed and all their activities were canceled.  Indiana is currently in Stage 2 which it began rolling out on Monday, May 4, 2020, by lifting restrictions in the following areas: travel restrictions lifted; social gatherings of up to 25 people allowed (subject to CDC social distancing guidelines); manufacturers, industrial and other infrastructure operations that had not been operating as essential business allowed to reopen; retail and commercial businesses allowed to reopen at 50% capacity; shopping malls allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with indoor seating limited to 25% capacity.

On May 11, 2020, the state continued to roll-out Stage 2 by easing the following restrictions: restaurants and bars that serve food allowed to reopen at 50% capacity (but bar seating to remain closed); personal services (hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spa and tattoo parlors) by appointment only.  Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most susceptible to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible.  Anyone working in an office setting are encouraged to continue working remotely preferably at home where possible.

On May 24, 2020, the state will move to Stage 3 which will include an easing of restrictions on the following businesses and operations, provided health indicators remain positive: Social gatherings of up to 100 people may occur; retail stores and mails may move to 75% capacity; movie theaters may open at 50% capacity and mall common areas (food courts and sitting areas) may move to 50% capacity; playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, pools, campgrounds and gyms and fitness centers may open with restrictions and social distancing.  Individuals at risk, including those over 65, may venture out cautiously. Those who can work remotely should continue to do so.

Indiana’s Back on Track reopening plan incorporates a “Back on Track Engine”, a 3-pronged approach to stay ahead of COVID-19 through testing, contact tracking and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).  Visit the Back on Track Indiana website for additional details including Industry Specific Guidance, Small Business PPE Marketplace hub, and Places of Worship guidance and more. The Governor has continued to emphasize that its Back on Track roadmap is subject to change depending on health indicators and as more is known about the coronavirus disease.

Kentuckians Given More Flexibility to Gather Over Memorial Day Weekend

On May 14, 2020, Governor Beshear announced a decision to advance the date for gathering in groups of up to 10 people beginning May 22, 2020, the Friday ahead of Memorial Day.  Recognizing that many Kentuckians have family members across state boarders with whom they may want to visit over the holiday weekend, the Governor also announced that the state’s travel ban will expire on the same day.

Kentucky Governor Announces Reopening Guidance for Restaurants

On May 14, 2020, Governor Beshear announced that the state has now posted initial guidance for restaurants as they reopen, but the Governor said he is still seeking feedback from those in the industry.  The Healthy at Work website now includes retail and restaurant guidance.  For additional information on Kentucky’s Healthy At Work phased reopening plan, see the article prepared by Kathie McDonald-McClure which has been updated for these developments.

EEOC Questions and Answers for Reopening Employers

By Julie Laemmle Watts

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continues to update its guidance for employers in its “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” questions and answers on a host of topics, including topics that are important for employers who are beginning the process of reopening. Some of these topics include: Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams; Confidentiality of Medical Examination; Reasonable Accommodation; and Return to Work. Click here to read more.

CMS Announces New CARES Act Billing Amounts for DMEPOS Suppliers

On May 8, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published an MLN article for suppliers billing Medicare for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) items and services. CMS has implemented the new April 2020 DMEPOS fee schedule amounts based on changes mandated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For non-rural areas, Medicare will use the HCPCS codes for certain DME and Parental and Enteral Nutrition (PEN) items and services with dates of service during the COVID-19 PHE. For areas other than non-rural areas (i.e., rural or non-contiguous areas), the fee schedules for DME and PEN codes with adjusted fee schedule amounts will continue to be based on a blend of 50 percent of the adjusted fee schedule amounts and 50 percent of the unadjusted fee schedule amounts until the end of the COVID-19 PHE. See the MLN article for additional details.

Medicare Reimbursement Available to Pharmacies Running COVID-19 Testing

We previously reported that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not require an order from a physician or other practitioner for a COVID-19 diagnostic test, permitting pharmacists to perform the test without a provider order. On May 8, 2020, CMS published a document clarifying how pharmacies and other suppliers can temporarily enroll as independent clinical diagnostic laboratories during the COVID-19 public health emergency using the provider enrollment hotline. Pharmacies operating drive-through and other COVID-19 diagnostic testing sites are proving to be crucial to meeting the need for COVID-19 testing.

CMS Publishes Explanatory Guidance to COVID-19-Related Stark Waivers

We previously reported that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not require an order from a physician or other practitioner for a COVID-19 diagnostic test, permitting pharmacists to perform the test without a provider order. On May 8, 2020, CMS published a document clarifying how pharmacies and other suppliers can temporarily enroll as independent clinical diagnostic laboratories during the COVID-19 public health emergency using the provider enrollment hotline. Pharmacies operating drive-through and other COVID-19 diagnostic testing sites are proving to be crucial to meeting the need for COVID-19 testing.

CMS Continues to Expand Waivers

On May 11, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published an updated summary of waivers and flexibilities related to the COVID-19 public health emergency (COVID-19 PHE). These new waivers, which CMS has identified in red (indicating they have been added or updated since April 30), include: (i) expansion of hospitals’ ability to offer long-term care services (swing beds); (ii) waivers of distance requirements, market share, and bed requirements for Sole Community Hospitals; (iii) waivers of certain eligibility requirements for Medicare-Dependent, Small Rural Hospitals; and (iv) updates on specific life safety code requirements for hospitals, hospice, and long-term care facilities. For the latest information on CMS waivers, check the CMS Coronavirus Waivers & Flexibilities webpage.

CMS Publishes Interim Final Rule Expanding COVID-19 Serology Tests

On May 8, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published an Interim Final Rule with comment period, amending Medicare policy during the COVID-19 PHE to cover FDA-authorized COVID-19 serology tests in order to allow any healthcare professional authorized to do so under State law to order COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory tests (including serological and antibody tests), and to provide for new specimen collection fees for COVID-19 testing under the Physician Fee Schedule and Outpatient Prospective Payment System. The changes apply to physicians and other practitioners, hospice providers, FQHCs, RHCs, critical access hospitals, community mental health centers, clinical laboratories, teaching hospitals, providers of laboratory testing benefit in Medicaid, Opioid treatment programs, and quality reporting programs for inpatient rehab facilities, LTCHs, SNFs, HHAs and DMEPOS suppliers.