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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.

COVID-19 Advocacy Resources 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 resource documents prepared by the Hart Health team to provide you with information on critical issues related to COVID-19.

•    COVID-19 Vaccine Information
COVID Advocacy•    Disaster Primer
•    State Resources
•    Federal Relief Overview
•    Telehealth Overview
•    Physician Provisions
•    Tax Provisions
•    Small Business - Paycheck Protection

AAAAI COVID-19 Advocacy Activity

May 11, 2023
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ended the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19, declared under Section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, on May 11, 2023. Review this Hart Health Strategies, Inc. summary of key excerpts of federal agency policy changes, including on telehealth and remote services, physician supervision, and other relevant policies, due to its end.  

August 22, 2022
COVID-19 Waiver Resources

CMS recently updated its COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers resource to
reflect the impact of the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) on a multitude of waivers and
flexibilities. CMS also published a series of provider-specific fact sheets that include information about which waivers
and flexibilities have already been terminated, have been made permanent, or will end at the end of the COVID[1]19 PHE, including the following:
Physicians and Other Clinicians (PDF)
Hospitals and CAHs (including Swing Beds, DPUs), ASCs and CMHCs (PDF)
Teaching Hospitals, Teaching Physicians and Medical Residents (PDF)
Long Term Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities and/or Nursing Facilities) (PDF)
Home Health Agencies (PDF)
Hospice (PDF)
Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (PDF)
Long Term Care Hospitals & Extended Neoplastic Disease Care Hospitals (PDF)
Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) (PDF)
Laboratories (PDF)
Medicare Shared Savings Program (PDF)
Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (PDF)
Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans (PDF)
Ambulances (PDF)
End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Facilities (PDF)
Participants in the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (PDF)

September 16, 2021
HHS has announced a 60 day grace period for those providers who fail to meet the September 30 deadline - the first Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Reporting Time Period. During this 60 day period, no HHS collections or enforcement activities will occur. Visit the HHS website Updated FAQs for answers related to returning payments; period of time during which providers must use payments; details on reporting expenditures; audit extensions and more.

HHS has also announced it will make another $25.5 billion in funds available to providers, including $8.5B for health care providers who serve rural Medicaid, CHIP or Medicare patients and $17B for a PRF Phase 4. PRF Phase 4 will reimburse smaller providers for their lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers and will also include bonuses for those who serve Medicaid, CHIP and/or Medicare patients. Providers can apply for both programs in a single application. The application portal will open on September 29.

July 12, 2021
The Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund Reporting Portal is now open. Those providers who are required to report in Reporting Period 1 may do so until Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Review the related Reporting Requirements. Review Frequently Asked Questions. For additional information, including user guides and a Provider Support Line, visit the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Reporting and Auditing webpage.  

April 14, 2021
The AAAAI wrote to Representatives Axne, Fitzpatrick, and Dunn in support of  H.R. 2079, the Eliminating the Provider Relief Tax Penalties Act of 2021. The measure would prevent burdensome taxability and tax deductibility penalties for healthcare providers who received COVID-19 relief assistance through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF). Read more.

AAAAAI joins coalition letter on vaccine access for pregnant patients
The AAAAI, as the facilitator of the Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System, joined a letter sent by the Coalition to Advance Maternal Therapeutics to the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The letter asked that pregnant patients be included in the Emergency Use Authorization of the Janssen Biotech vaccine, as they had for vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, and stressed the importance of vaccine access for pregnant and lactating people, particularly those in potentially risky environments like classrooms.  

Bipartisan efforts to extend sequester moratorium
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House  and Senate to extend the current moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequester through the public health emergency.  Currently, the moratorium expires at the end of this month and without congressional action, the 2% Medicare cut will resume on April 1.  In addition, the House of Representatives plans to consider H.R. 1868 this week. The bill would both avoid an expected 4% sequester starting in 2022 as the result of passage of the American Rescue Plan, and suspend the current 2% sequestration cut through the end of 2021.  

February 18, 2021
To pass the American Rescue Plan/COVID-19 Response package, the latest COVID-relief package, Democrats have opted to utilize the reconciliation process, which provides a fast-track process to enact the legislation. The House and Senate have already passed S. Con. Res. 5 – the budget resolution to set up the parameters of the reconciliation process, and House Committees have reported their recommendations within their various jurisdictions. Next week, the House of Representatives will complete its action on the bill, with a vote on final passage expected on February 26. The Senate will act shortly thereafter, with the goal of having the President sign the legislation by March 14, when the current enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire.  For more information on the details of the plan and specifics related to reconciliation, see here.

January 21, 2021
The Biden Administration has issued a summary with information on several Executive Orders issued to start to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 6, 2020
Read this comprehensive resource document on COVID-19 vaccines from the AAAAI’s Advocacy partner, Hart Health Strategies.

December 22, 2020
A bipartisan agreement has been reached to provide another round of COVID-19 pandemic relief and to complete 2021 appropriations to avoid a government shutdown. Read an update on several issues addressed in this congressional package that the AAAAI has been working on throughout this Congress. 

Read a high-level American Medical Association overview of select provisions in the Consolidated 2020 Omnibus Legislation.

Review the CY2021 combined impact without G2211 in CF and the 3.75 percent CF increase.

Read a high-level American Medical Association summary of the No Surprises Act.

October 1, 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that it will disburse an additional $20 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Funds. Physicians who have previously received funds can apply for additional funding for financial losses and changes necessary for practice on account of the pandemic. Mental health providers will also be covered in this round of funding, as well as some other providers previously ineligible. This application period is open from October 5 to November 6, 2020.

August 19, 2020
The AAAAI has signed on to a letter to the leadership of the US House of Representatives in support of providing additional funding for AHRQ for study of critical issues in healthcare systems in the US, particularly those impacting veterans, low income communities, and the elderly, with particular attention to studying healthcare disparities and inequities demonstrated and exacerbated by the pandemic.

July 30, 2020
Support for in-home IVIG infusion services

The AAAAI sent a letter to Representatives Brady and Matsui to express enthusiastic support for H.R. 7839, the Continuing Access to In-Home IVIG Act, legislation they have sponsored to ensure Medicare beneficiaries with PI diseases have access to the Medicare Part B home infusion benefit. The AAAAI is pleased to continue to support efforts on this important issue.

July 16, 2020
The AAAAI has sent a letter to Secretary Alex Azar asking that HHS allow providers who missed the June 3 deadline to apply for additional CARES Act Provider Relief Fund disbursements. This letter is in response to AAAAI members who reached out to after receiving a minimal relief payment based on a very small Medicare patient population in their practice, not knowing that the Medicare relief would make them ineligible under subsequent Medicaid relief, which represents a much greater portion of their practice; and thus missed the June 3 deadline.

June 25, 2020
The AAAAI has urged payers nationwide to extend the deadline for all expanded telehealth services for at least 90 days beyond the expiration of the nationwide Public Health Emergency, if not permanently. Read the letter sent to: Aetna, Amerigroup, Amerihealth, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, CareFirst Blue Cross, Centene, Humana, Molina Health Care, UnitedHealth Care and Wellmark.

June 17, 2020
The AAAAI has urged the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions and Congress to make permanent the new telehealth flexibilities provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

June 3, 2020
AAAAI Virtual Advocacy Day
The AAAAI hosted a Virtual Advocacy Day focused on three issues:  increasing federal funding for food allergy research; the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act (H.R. 2468); and extending telemedicine policies to protect provider and patient safety, and patient access to specialty care.

May 7, 2020
The AAAAI has sent a letter to Secretary Azar asking that changes to virtual care and telemedicine policies made for the COVID19 pandemic be extended beyond the announced dates, and that authority be sought through Congressional action to influence private payer coverage at parity with in person services for some office visits.

April 24, 2020
AAAAI has asked CMS to implement many of the temporary telehealth services policies on a permanent basis, waive the “video” requirement for furnishing office/outpatient E/M services, and expressed caution regarding efforts to facilitate at-home administration of infused or injected medications. View the letter.

April 15, 2020
The AAAAI continues to actively promote the interests of Allergist/Immunologists on the issues impacting the entire healthcare industry during the COVID-19 crisis, both independently and through important coalitions and consortia. Looking forward, the AMA has coordinated a letter to Congressional leadership specifically addressing needs in a “phase 4” package.

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.

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.