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COVID-19: Pandemic

The AAAAI seeks to clarify and ensure reimbursement for telehealth and other vital health care services during this pandemic to ensure practicing allergist/immunologists can continue to provide optimal patient care during these unprecedented times.

Continually updated links from AAAAI’s professional advocacy team, Hart Health Strategies
The AAAAI partners with Hart Health Strategies to provide ongoing advocacy with Congress, federal regulatory agencies, and other important strategic outreach. We are pleased to provide links to documents the Hart Health team is keeping up to date to provide you with the latest important information on critical issues related to COVID-19. Check these links often for the latest information.

COVID Advocacy•    Small Business Resources (See additional information below.) (Updated 3/31)
•    Health Care Workers on the Front Lines (Updated 4/5)
•    Personal Protective Equipment (Updated 4/5)
•    Disaster Primer (Updated 3/23)
•    State Resources (Updated 4/3)
•    COVID-19 Testing (Updated 4/3)
•    Federal Relief Overview (Updated 4/3)
•    Telehealth Overview (Updated 4/1)
•    Hospice and Palliative Care (Updated 4/1)
•    Physician Provisions (Updated 4/3)
•    Tax Provisions (Updated 4/3)
•    Small Business - Paycheck Protection Program (Updated 4/3)
•    Nursing Resources (Updated 4/2)
•    Small Business – PPP FAQ (Updated 4/3)
•    Timeline for Implementation (Updated 4/6)

Small Business Resources
What We Need to Do as Employers
•    We all know that we want our employees who are sick to stay home. To accomplish this, be flexible about sick leave policies for employees who are sick or who have family members at home. The CDC has guidelines for how to deal with sick employees.
•    Familiarize yourself with the “return to work” criteria and make sure the employee knows as well.
•    Make sure that contracted companies like janitorial and temp employees also understand about the importance of sick employees.
•    Cross-train employees to prepare for increased absenteeism.
•    Establish policies and practices for “social distancing” in the workplace.
•    Establish new policies for routine and enhanced cleaning of the workplace.
•    Discourage employees from using other worker’s phones or equipment when possible. If not possible, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
•    Check with your insurance broker to see if you have business interruption coverage, and find out what the details of coverage are.
•    Communicate with your patients about changes.

Food Allergy Patients
•    Additional counseling may be needed for your food allergy patients, especially as the United States moves to grocery and restaurant pick-up service, and patients aren’t able to pick and choose their favorites or query wait staff or chefs.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans
•    The Small Business Administration (SBA) has set up a webpage. You can actually apply for loans from this webpage.
•    The SBA will work with state governors to provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million at low interest rates (3.75%).
•    Long-term repayment plans up to 30 years are available.
•    Loans can be used to pay fixed debts (rent, lease), payroll, accounts payable and other bills.
•    For additional information, contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or email them at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Family First Coronavirus Response Act
•    This is also known as the Phase II package or H.R. 6201. It applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees and is effective April 3, 2020.
•    Includes two weeks paid sick leave for full-time covered employees for COVID-19-related quarantine, symptoms, an ill family member with COVID-19, or for provision of childcare.
•    Includes 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave for employees (employed at least 30 days) who are unable to work due to childcare needs if schools or childcare facilities are closed.
•    Covers regular rate of pay (cap $511/day) for quarantine or symptoms of employee, or two-thirds regular rate (cap $200/day) for family or childcare.
•    Refundable payroll tax credit will reimburse businesses for sick leave, or family and medical leave wages paid to employees affected by COVID-19.
•    If you can’t afford the employee costs associated with such paid leave, the Treasury Department has stated that it will use its regulatory authority to advance funds to employers concerned about cash flow.
•    Employers must provide employees notice of eligibility for paid sick leave and family and medical leave. The Department of Labor is supposed to provide a model notification.
•    Be aware there are special rules for part-time employees and those who are self-employed.

Academic Institutions
•    The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has provided guidance to academic teaching centers regarding graduate medical education (GME) requirements. It allows institutions to declare pandemic emergencies and suspend all GME requirements, if needed.
•    The American Board of Allergy and Immunology and training programs are considering ways to compensate for lost teaching time for fellows-in-training.

March 25, 2020
AAAAI joined the AMA and others in Congressional advocacy on the economic stimulus package

The AAAAI joined a broad group of organizations advocating for physicians to be included in financial assistance in a Congressional relief package intended to mitigate economic impacts of COVID-19. View the letter here.

March 18, 2020
AAAAI letter to CMS advocating for private payer coverage for COVID-19 telemedicine visits

The AAAAI has sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma supporting recent comments regarding working with private payers to cover telemedicine visits for patients.

March 17, 2020
AAAAI advocates for home infusion coverage amid COVID-19 concerns
The AAAAI consistently advocates for concerns for immune-deficient patients.  We have signed on in support of a coalition effort prioritizing protecting in-home infusion in light of the COVID-19 crisis in the House and Senate. 

March 16, 2020
AAAAI letter to Sen. Romney regarding telemedicine services
The AAAAI supports Senator Romney’s efforts to increase access to telemedicine service to patients with private insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid patients.

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