Weekly COVID-19 Briefings

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View the full briefing here.

Below are the latest health-related news, media announcements, resources, and updates for our CTC-RI practice and community members during the COVID-19 crisis. The below will continue to be provided to you in an anticipated weekly briefing. 

We encourage you to refer to specific health plan policies for further details on billing policies and guidance using the links provided in this briefing.

___________________________________________________________

Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • 08/13/2020 - Governor Raimondo met with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health via Facebook Live, discussing plans for school, the health benefits of in-person learning, and the precautions that need to be in place to be confident in the safety of Rhode Island schools. Their conversation is now available to be viewed via Facebook or YouTube. Governor Raimondo highlighted concerns surrounding increased child obesity rates, lower vaccination rates, and other pediatric health concerns that the state is working to address during this pandemic.
  • 08/12/2020 - Based on recommendations from the RI Department of Health and RI Department of Education, the Governor is delaying the reopening of schools by two weeks (now scheduled to reopen on Monday, September 14 with the school year concluding on June 25, 2021. The Governor is also pushing back the deadline for determining if a school district will start the school year in-person (or online) from August 16 to August 31. This deadline extension allows the state to make decisions with the best and most up-to-date testing data.
  • 08/12/2020 - Governor Raimondo announced that state is looking to outsource some of the contact tracing infrastructure to quickly ramp-up capacity to meet the needs of the RI Department of Health. Currently, RIDOH and the RI National Guard have between 100-200 people dedicated to the state's contact tracing program/capabilities.
  • 08/07/2020 - RIDOH reiterated that asymptomatic testing has been expanded to every Rhode Islander 18- to 39-years-old. This age group has a higher rate of positive test results than other age groups, and they are more likely to have the virus without having any symptoms. Rhode Islanders within this age group should visit portal.ri.gov to schedule a test.

_________________________________________________________________

National and State Guidance for Health Care Providers
  • RIDOH Updated Guidance for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation by Population - Healthcare providers are encouraged to review RIDOH's updated Guidance for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation by Population which reflects an extended home isolation period from seven to 10 days since symptoms first appeared for both symptom and time-based strategies.
  • RIDOH Guidance for Ambulatory Care Settings for Infection Prevention with COVID-19 - This guidance highlights several areas each ambulatory care setting should evaluate to ensure they are meeting the latest standards regarding infection prevention. For the purposes of this guidance, ambulatory care is defined as primary care clinics, outpatient specialty clinics, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, audiology, and other ancillary services as well as hospital outpatient departments, ambulatory surgical centers, specialty care centers (dialysis or infusion), and urgent care clinics.
  • CDC Guidance COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Professionals - Click here for information related to evaluation and testing, preparedness tools, guidance for facilities, and more.
  • CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and Updates on Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs - CMS is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. Learn how CMS is easing the burden and helping providers care for Americans by offering new waivers and flexibilities. For Medicaid in Rhode Island, EOHHS has submitted requests to CMS to make necessary, temporary changes to the Medicaid program outlined here
  • SAMHSA Guidance and Resources - Tools and resources related to substance abuse and mental health services during the COVID-19 crisis.

_________________________________________________________________

Financial Stability and Relief Information for Providers
  • PPP Nonprofit Loan Forgiveness Comes Early - Based on SBA guidance released last month, PPP recipients can apply for loan forgiveness early. In a interim final rule issued in consultation with Treasury, the SBA addresses a number of issues related to the PPP, which was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to small businesses, not-for-profits, and certain other entities hurt by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated government-imposed quarantines. 
  • CARES Act Provider Relief Fund - Access information and Q&A directly related to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund which provides relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The CARES Act creates opportunities for small businesses and non-profits to apply for certain loans and tax credits that will help relieve the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more for summaries of the new provisions.

_________________________________________________________________

PPE Supplies and Healthcare Workforce Updates
  • HProvider-Led Healthcare Supply Chain Company Intalere Helps with PPE Purchasing - Intalere assists healthcare facilities with lowering costs, increasing revenue, and improving quality of care. Click here for more details on the free membership helping providers navigate the supply chain process and make informed purchasing decisions.
  • State Guidance for Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers in Healthcare - On May 23, RIDOH updated its guidance for essential critical infrastructure workers in healthcare, as well as public Health, law enforcement, public safety, first responders and those working in residential/shelter facilities and social services who have been exposed to COVID-19. This update reflects CDC guidance for exposures warranting work restrictions for asymptomatic healthcare personnel. Healthcare workers wearing full and appropriate PPE are not considered exposed and do not need to quarantine. 
  • Disinfectant Vouchers and PPE Orders - Healthcare practices, agencies, or facilities with 50 or fewer employees can request a disinfectant voucher when ordering PPE through the already-established Rhode Island Department of Health webforms. Most healthcare providers are able to now order surgical masks, face shields, and, if applicable, the disinfectant voucher through www.health.ri.gov/masks. Hospitals, EMS, nursing homes, assisted living communities, home health and hospice agencies, health centers, urgent care centers, and healthcare practices that are serving as respiratory care clinics are able to order PPE from www.health.ri.gov/ppe. Further, SupplyRI has put together a list of local Rhode Island businesses that sell PPE, sanitizing supplies, medical equipment, and cleaning services. If you're interested in doing business with these companies, you can download the list here.

_________________________________________________________________

Telehealth and Health Plan Policy and Information
  • OHIC: Telemedicine Services are Critical for Maintaining Health Care Accessibility in Rhode Island - The Governor's Telemedicine Executive Order has been in place since March to permit the current COVID-19 emergency requirements, which otherwise would not be possible under the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner's (OHIC) authority. These actions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic have ensured that all health care services typically covered under an enrollee's plan that are deemed clinically appropriate to be provided remotely are covered. Telemedicine has served as an effective tool in both reducing infection risk at health care facilities, and in enabling health care providers to care for their patients during this unprecedented time. Read OHIC's full telemedicine article here.
  • Rhode Island Insurer Provider Policy Updates - Insurers are maintaining updated information for providers, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RINeighborhood Health Plan of RITufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare
  • 24-Hour Telehealth Opioid Support - RI launched a Buprenorphine Hotline for people with moderate to severe opioid use disorder, offering 24-hour telehealth service access for patients who are seeking initiation of buprenorphine treatment.
  • Simple Telehealth Technology How-To Guides for Seniors - University of RI has put together some simple how-to guides for seniors on how to use telehealth technology like FaceTime and creating a Gmail account.

_________________________________________________________________

Testing and Equity Information for Providers
  • Serology Testing Available for Employees in High-Contact Professions - The RI Department of Health announced the launch of a new round of COVID-19 serology testing. First responders, RI National Guard members, RIDOH staff, correctional workers, hospital and nursing home staff can schedule an antibody test online. Testing is voluntary and confidential. 
  • COVID-19 Tests Now Available to Homebound, Non-Ambulatory Individuals - RIDOH, EOHHS and Alert Ambulance have partnered to provide home-based COVID-19 tests to homebound, non-ambulatory individuals who cannot otherwise get a COVID-19 test. The individual's medical provider must complete a referral form and follow the instructions for submission. Please note that lack of transportation does not qualify an individual for a homebound test. If the individual has a transportation need, they should be referred to MTM at 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) for a ride to a testing site. MTM has supports in place to transport people enrolled in Medicaid and people who qualify for the Elderly Transportation Program (ETP) to COVID-19 testing sites. Eligible individuals can call: 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711). This service is only available if no other transportation options are available.
  • New Interactive Testing Site Locator Tool - RIDOH's testing webpage  now features an interactive RI COVID-19 Testing Site Locator . Simply enter your ZIP code or address to find a respiratory clinic or drive-up/walk-up testing site accepting new patients or patients from other healthcare practices. The locator also highlights testing sites that offer free COVID-19 tests, regardless of health insurance or immigration status, and languages spoken at sites.
  • CVS Adds 10 New Drive-Through Testing Locations - CVS Health has opened 10 new COVID-19 test sites at pharmacies in Rhode Island, increasing the state's daily testing capacity by about 500 tests. The new sites will use self-swab tests with results in approximately three days. Patients must make an appointment in advance at www.cvs.com
  • RIDOH Guidance on End of Isolation and Return to Work Testing: Patients Who Are Healthcare Workers and First Responders - Some patients need testing after COVID-19 symptoms resolve in order to end isolation and return to work. Healthcare workers and first responders such as EMS, fire, and police who have regular, close contact with patients and clients fall into this category. RIDOH does not need to coordinate the end of isolation and return to work testing. Tests can be ordered for asymptomatic patients by ordering the test at one of the drive-up testing sites at CCRI in Warwick or RIC in Providence. Orders can be made through the online system: schedulecovidtest.ri.gov 
  • At-Home Testing By Primary Care Providers - Primary care providers have reached out to RIDOH wanting to conduct home visits to perform testing on their symptomatic patients, and RIDOH has confirmed PCPs can do this. If a practice would like to request less than 20 swabs per week, contact Leslie of East Side Clinical Laboratory (ESCL) at 401-455-8417. If there is a need for more than 20 swabs per week, email Carol.Stone@health.ri.gov Providers will need to pick up the kits, transport media, and send samples for processing to a commercial lab.
  • Resources for Undocumented Immigrants - RIDOH has shared information on places providing access to healthcare regardless of immigration status.

_________________________________________________________________

Additional Practice Resources
  • Neighborhood Health Plan Offers Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors and Electronic Scales - Neighborhood Health Plan is allowing 90-day benefit exceptions, in select cases, for Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors and Electronic Scales, ensuring the most at-risk members are able to receive services they need to remain comfortable in their homes.
  • COVID-19 Coloring Pages Available for Pediatric Practices to Share - A child-friendly coloring book has been developed by Children's Hospital of Richmond, available for practices to share with families.
  • Resource Guide: Simple Answers to Top COVID-19 Questions - The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials put together a guide with the 60+ top questions about COVID-19 and clear answers.
  • RIQI Seeking Feedback - The RI Quality Institute has made changes to its services to practice community with the data needed to help you care for patients. The RIQI COVID-19 response team wants to gather your feedback around your needs for COVID-19 data. Please take their short survey here.
  • Walk-In Immunization Clinic for Children Without Insurance or a Provider - The St. Joseph Health Center Walk-In Clinic is an immunization clinic for any child who does not have insurance or is new to Rhode Island and does not yet have a provider. Vaccines are provided at no cost.
  • New Fund Supports Rhode Islanders Locked Out of Federal Emergency Relief Programs - Some communities in Rhode Island have been hit harder than others - especially those locked out of most federal emergency relief programs due to their immigration status. The weR1 Rhode Island Fund is a collaborative effort between government, community, and philanthropic organizations to raise $3 million to provide no-fee debit cards to Rhode Islanders with urgent need due to sickness, job loss or reduction in work hours and who are excluded from these federal programs. The Fund is designed to help close this aid gap. For more information about the fund, visit diiri.org or call 401-784-8600. Language services are available.
  • Family Service of Rhode Island Launches "Be Safe Plus" - This effort delivers fresh foods and cleaning supplies to keep Rhode Island's seniors healthy and well. Eligible individuals include adults age 60+, adults with disabilities who reside in housing facility in which there is a Title IIIC meal site, adult children with disabilities who reside with their parent age 60+, caregivers and spouses of aforementioned individuals, and grandparents or caregivers age 55 and older caring for grandchildren or foster children under age 18. 
  • Free mental health support lines healthcare workers - Lifespan and Care New England have partnered to offer a free service available to all healthcare workers in Rhode Island, and can be accessed Monday - Saturday, 8am - 8pm by calling 401-606-6000. Callers will be offered an appointment for support from an individual provider. There is also a national Peer Support Line for physicians navigating the pandemic. 
  • RI COVID-19 Self-Checker Offers Personalized Risk Assessment - The RI COVID-19 Self-Checker offers a personalized risk assessment that takes into account exposure and preexisting conditions and offers detailed guidance for next steps, based on CDC guidelines. All guidance has been customized to the RI context. The tool is intended to help individuals who are at risk, suspected, presumed, or confirmed positive for COVID-19 to make decisions, seek appropriate medical care and testing, and protect themselves and others. This tool does not replace the judgement of healthcare professionals or the performance of any clinical assessment. It is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19. 
  • Housing Help RI Emergency Rental Assistance Fund Temporarily Closed - Availability for the Housing Help RI emergency rental assistance fund is now temporarily closed. Please check back for future housing assistance opportunities that may become available. 
  • Translated COVID-19 Resources in Rhode Island - RIDOH and Reopening RI resources are available in multiple languages, in addition to resources for the deaf/HOH. Dorcas International is offering a Tech Hotline (1-833-523-0351) where families with tech issues can call and request a language other than English and Spanish, will be connected to an interpreter, who will then contact the IT support people. 
  • COVID-19 Medical Practice Reopening Checklist - MGMA has provided a Medical Practice Reopening Checklist to help medical practices make sense of a reopening strategy and the steps to resume non-essential procedures and begin managing a backlog of patient visits that could not be addressed via telehealth services, this medical practice reopening checklist to outline the various financial, operational, staffing and procedural considerations to resume operations and ramp up work in the coming weeks and months, depending on locality and state.
  • Support for Patients with Diabetes - People with diabetes using Novo Nordisk Inc. insulin who have lost health insurance coverage because of a change in job status due to COVID-19 may now be eligible for enrollment in the company's Diabetes Patient Assistance Program and receive insulin free of charge for 90 days. Criteria can be found on NovoCare.com or by calling 1-844-NOVO4ME (1-844-668-6463).
  • Phone Advice Guidelines for Patients with Possible COVID-19 - This CDC phone script can be used in conjunction with CDC's Decision Algorithm and Messages.
  • Free Daily Community Mindfulness Sessions Available Live Online or By Telephone - Brown School of Public Health has expanded their community mindfulness offerings to once a day. All sessions are live-online, free, and open to the public. All programs are through Zoom video conferencing, which includes the option of joining from your phone. Click here for the daily schedule and topic details.
  • Food and Medication Delivery for Quarantined Rhode Islanders - RI Delivers will help those living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 safely remain home by providing delivery support for those without other help.
  • Video: Lessons from the Field to Care for Yourself and Others During Times of Prolonged Stress - A webinar is now available by the American College of Health Care Executives focused on caring for health team members during stressful time periods, recently shared with practice teams by Nelly Burdette, PsyD. Watch here.
  • RIDOH Medical Home Portal Resources - RIDOH has shared information and resources from their new Medical Home Portal COVID-19 page that includes: General National and Global Information; Rhode Island Resources; Resources for Parents and Families; and Resources for Healthcare Professionals.

View the full briefing here.

Below are the latest health-related news, media announcements, resources, and updates for our CTC-RI practice and community members during the COVID-19 crisis. The below will continue to be provided to you in an anticipated weekly briefing. 

We encourage you to refer to specific health plan policies for further details on billing policies and guidance using the links provided in this briefing.

___________________________________________________________

Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • 08/05/2020 - Governor Raimondo announced Rhode Islanders must adhere to new travel restrictions for several neighboring states: MA, NJ, CT and NY. Rhode Islanders will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or provide proof of a negative test result within 72 hours. Read more about MA's travel order here.
    • Due to the new travel restrictions, the Governor and RIDOH are launching a new rapid testing program at the RI Convention Center. Starting this afternoon, folks that need a rapid test will be able to schedule a test at www.portal.ri.gov and should receive their results in 24-48 hours.
    • The Governor announced increased enforcement of the inbound travel restrictions to RI, especially since the most recent testing data revealed that 11% of new positive cases were traced back to out-of-state travelers.
    • Beginning August 9, anyone from the states below who check-in at a RI hotel or rental property will need to sign a certificate of compliance verifying that they have a negative test result or that they intend to quarantine - or they will not be able to stay.
  • 08/05/2020 - Due to recent increases in positive cases among 18- to 39-year-olds, RIDOH is urging individuals within this age group to schedule a free asymptomatic COVID-19 test through portal.ri.gov. If someone in this age group (or someone they have been in contact with) has attended a social gathering, traveled to a hot spot, or works in a high-contact setting, they are eligible to schedule an asymptomatic test. They may now select "I am part of an age group that has been asked to get tested" as a reason for requesting an appointment through the online scheduling system.
  • 08/05/2020 - EOHHS has received complaints from consumers about reopened provider practices charging patients fees for costs related to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other CDC infection control recommendations in response to COVID-19. Provider practices should not bill or collect fees from patients for increased costs associated with COVID-19. Unless otherwise stipulated, the Medicaid Program reimbursement is considered payment in full. The provider is not permitted to seek further payment from beneficiaries over the Medicaid Program rate.

_________________________________________________________________

National and State Guidance for Health Care Providers
  • RIDOH Updated Guidance for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation by Population - Healthcare providers are encouraged to review RIDOH's updated Guidance for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation by Population which reflects an extended home isolation period from seven to 10 days since symptoms first appeared for both symptom and time-based strategies.
  • RIDOH Guidance for Ambulatory Care Settings for Infection Prevention with COVID-19 - This guidance highlights several areas each ambulatory care setting should evaluate to ensure they are meeting the latest standards regarding infection prevention. For the purposes of this guidance, ambulatory care is defined as primary care clinics, outpatient specialty clinics, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, audiology, and other ancillary services as well as hospital outpatient departments, ambulatory surgical centers, specialty care centers (dialysis or infusion), and urgent care clinics.
  • CDC Guidance COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Professionals - Click here for information related to evaluation and testing, preparedness tools, guidance for facilities, and more.
  • CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and Updates on Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs - CMS is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. Learn how CMS is easing the burden and helping providers care for Americans by offering new waivers and flexibilities. For Medicaid in Rhode Island, EOHHS has submitted requests to CMS to make necessary, temporary changes to the Medicaid program outlined here
  • SAMHSA Guidance and Resources - Tools and resources related to substance abuse and mental health services during the COVID-19 crisis.

_________________________________________________________________

Financial Stability and Relief Information for Providers
  • PPP Nonprofit Loan Forgiveness Comes Early - Based on SBA guidance released last month, PPP recipients can apply for loan forgiveness early. In a interim final rule issued in consultation with Treasury, the SBA addresses a number of issues related to the PPP, which was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to small businesses, not-for-profits, and certain other entities hurt by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated government-imposed quarantines. 
  • PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Deadline Extended to August 8 - Congress has extended the deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to August 8, 2020. Resources about the SBA PPP program and updated forgiveness loan application are available on the Financial Management Associates PPP Toolbox website.
  • CARES Act Provider Relief Fund - Access information and Q&A directly related to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund which provides relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The CARES Act creates opportunities for small businesses and non-profits to apply for certain loans and tax credits that will help relieve the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more for summaries of the new provisions.

_________________________________________________________________

PPE Supplies and Healthcare Workforce Updates
  • Healthcare Businesses Must Develop Written COVID-19 Control Plan - As a part of Reopening Rhode Island, all businesses, including healthcare businesses, must develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval, but must be retained on the premises of the business and must made available to RIDOH in the event of an inspection or outbreak. 
  • State Guidance for Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers in Healthcare - On May 23, RIDOH updated its guidance for essential critical infrastructure workers in healthcare, as well as public Health, law enforcement, public safety, first responders and those working in residential/shelter facilities and social services who have been exposed to COVID-19. This update reflects CDC guidance for exposures warranting work restrictions for asymptomatic healthcare personnel. Healthcare workers wearing full and appropriate PPE are not considered exposed and do not need to quarantine. 
  • Disinfectant Vouchers and PPE Orders - Healthcare practices, agencies, or facilities with 50 or fewer employees can request a disinfectant voucher when ordering PPE through the already-established Rhode Island Department of Health webforms. Most healthcare providers are able to now order surgical masks, face shields, and, if applicable, the disinfectant voucher through www.health.ri.gov/masks. Hospitals, EMS, nursing homes, assisted living communities, home health and hospice agencies, health centers, urgent care centers, and healthcare practices that are serving as respiratory care clinics are able to order PPE from www.health.ri.gov/ppe. Further, SupplyRI has put together a list of local Rhode Island businesses that sell PPE, sanitizing supplies, medical equipment, and cleaning services. If you're interested in doing business with these companies, you can download the list here.

_________________________________________________________________

Telehealth and Health Plan Policy and Information
  • OHIC: Telemedicine Services are Critical for Maintaining Health Care Accessibility in Rhode Island - The Governor's Telemedicine Executive Order has been in place since March to permit the current COVID-19 emergency requirements, which otherwise would not be possible under the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner's (OHIC) authority. These actions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic have ensured that all health care services typically covered under an enrollee's plan that are deemed clinically appropriate to be provided remotely are covered. Telemedicine has served as an effective tool in both reducing infection risk at health care facilities, and in enabling health care providers to care for their patients during this unprecedented time. Read OHIC's full telemedicine article here.
  • Rhode Island Insurer Provider Policy Updates - Insurers are maintaining updated information for providers, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RINeighborhood Health Plan of RITufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare
  • 24-Hour Telehealth Opioid Support - RI launched a Buprenorphine Hotline for people with moderate to severe opioid use disorder, offering 24-hour telehealth service access for patients who are seeking initiation of buprenorphine treatment.
  • Simple Telehealth Technology How-To Guides for Seniors - University of RI has put together some simple how-to guides for seniors on how to use telehealth technology like FaceTime and creating a Gmail account.

_________________________________________________________________

Testing and Equity Information for Providers
  • Serology Testing Available for Employees in High-Contact Professions - The RI Department of Health announced the launch of a new round of COVID-19 serology testing. First responders, RI National Guard members, RIDOH staff, correctional workers, hospital and nursing home staff can schedule an antibody test online. Testing is voluntary and confidential. 
  • COVID-19 Tests Now Available to Homebound, Non-Ambulatory Individuals - RIDOH, EOHHS and Alert Ambulance have partnered to provide home-based COVID-19 tests to homebound, non-ambulatory individuals who cannot otherwise get a COVID-19 test. The individual's medical provider must complete a referral form and follow the instructions for submission. Please note that lack of transportation does not qualify an individual for a homebound test. If the individual has a transportation need, they should be referred to MTM at 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) for a ride to a testing site. MTM has supports in place to transport people enrolled in Medicaid and people who qualify for the Elderly Transportation Program (ETP) to COVID-19 testing sites. Eligible individuals can call: 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711). This service is only available if no other transportation options are available.
  • New Interactive Testing Site Locator Tool - RIDOH's testing webpage  now features an interactive RI COVID-19 Testing Site Locator . Simply enter your ZIP code or address to find a respiratory clinic or drive-up/walk-up testing site accepting new patients or patients from other healthcare practices. The locator also highlights testing sites that offer free COVID-19 tests, regardless of health insurance or immigration status, and languages spoken at sites.
  • CVS Adds 10 New Drive-Through Testing Locations - CVS Health has opened 10 new COVID-19 test sites at pharmacies in Rhode Island, increasing the state's daily testing capacity by about 500 tests. The new sites will use self-swab tests with results in approximately three days. Patients must make an appointment in advance at www.cvs.com
  • RIDOH Guidance on End of Isolation and Return to Work Testing: Patients Who Are Healthcare Workers and First Responders - Some patients need testing after COVID-19 symptoms resolve in order to end isolation and return to work. Healthcare workers and first responders such as EMS, fire, and police who have regular, close contact with patients and clients fall into this category. RIDOH does not need to coordinate the end of isolation and return to work testing. Tests can be ordered for asymptomatic patients by ordering the test at one of the drive-up testing sites at CCRI in Warwick or RIC in Providence. Orders can be made through the online system: schedulecovidtest.ri.gov 
  • At-Home Testing By Primary Care Providers - Primary care providers have reached out to RIDOH wanting to conduct home visits to perform testing on their symptomatic patients, and RIDOH has confirmed PCPs can do this. If a practice would like to request less than 20 swabs per week, contact Leslie of East Side Clinical Laboratory (ESCL) at 401-455-8417. If there is a need for more than 20 swabs per week, email Carol.Stone@health.ri.gov Providers will need to pick up the kits, transport media, and send samples for processing to a commercial lab.
  • Resources for Undocumented Immigrants - RIDOH has shared information on places providing access to healthcare regardless of immigration status.

_________________________________________________________________

Additional Practice Resources
  • Neighborhood Health Plan Offers Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors and Electronic Scales - Neighborhood Health Plan is allowing 90-day benefit exceptions, in select cases, for Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors and Electronic Scales, ensuring the most at-risk members are able to receive services they need to remain comfortable in their homes.
  • COVID-19 Coloring Pages Available for Pediatric Practices to Share - A child-friendly coloring book has been developed by Children's Hospital of Richmond, available for practices to share with families.
  • Resource Guide: Simple Answers to Top COVID-19 Questions - The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials put together a guide with the 60+ top questions about COVID-19 and clear answers.
  • RIQI Seeking Feedback - The RI Quality Institute has made changes to its services to practice community with the data needed to help you care for patients. The RIQI COVID-19 response team wants to gather your feedback around your needs for COVID-19 data. Please take their short survey here.
  • Walk-In Immunization Clinic for Children Without Insurance or a Provider - The St. Joseph Health Center Walk-In Clinic is an immunization clinic for any child who does not have insurance or is new to Rhode Island and does not yet have a provider. Vaccines are provided at no cost.
  • New Fund Supports Rhode Islanders Locked Out of Federal Emergency Relief Programs - Some communities in Rhode Island have been hit harder than others - especially those locked out of most federal emergency relief programs due to their immigration status. The weR1 Rhode Island Fund is a collaborative effort between government, community, and philanthropic organizations to raise $3 million to provide no-fee debit cards to Rhode Islanders with urgent need due to sickness, job loss or reduction in work hours and who are excluded from these federal programs. The Fund is designed to help close this aid gap. For more information about the fund, visit diiri.org or call 401-784-8600. Language services are available.
  • Family Service of Rhode Island Launches "Be Safe Plus" - This effort delivers fresh foods and cleaning supplies to keep Rhode Island's seniors healthy and well. Eligible individuals include adults age 60+, adults with disabilities who reside in housing facility in which there is a Title IIIC meal site, adult children with disabilities who reside with their parent age 60+, caregivers and spouses of aforementioned individuals, and grandparents or caregivers age 55 and older caring for grandchildren or foster children under age 18. 
  • Free mental health support lines healthcare workers - Lifespan and Care New England have partnered to offer a free service available to all healthcare workers in Rhode Island, and can be accessed Monday - Saturday, 8am - 8pm by calling 401-606-6000. Callers will be offered an appointment for support from an individual provider. There is also a national Peer Support Line for physicians navigating the pandemic. 
  • RI COVID-19 Self-Checker Offers Personalized Risk Assessment - The RI COVID-19 Self-Checker offers a personalized risk assessment that takes into account exposure and preexisting conditions and offers detailed guidance for next steps, based on CDC guidelines. All guidance has been customized to the RI context. The tool is intended to help individuals who are at risk, suspected, presumed, or confirmed positive for COVID-19 to make decisions, seek appropriate medical care and testing, and protect themselves and others. This tool does not replace the judgement of healthcare professionals or the performance of any clinical assessment. It is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19. 
  • Housing Help RI Emergency Rental Assistance Fund Temporarily Closed - Availability for the Housing Help RI emergency rental assistance fund is now temporarily closed. Please check back for future housing assistance opportunities that may become available. 
  • Translated COVID-19 Resources in Rhode Island - RIDOH and Reopening RI resources are available in multiple languages, in addition to resources for the deaf/HOH. Dorcas International is offering a Tech Hotline (1-833-523-0351) where families with tech issues can call and request a language other than English and Spanish, will be connected to an interpreter, who will then contact the IT support people. 
  • COVID-19 Medical Practice Reopening Checklist - MGMA has provided a Medical Practice Reopening Checklist to help medical practices make sense of a reopening strategy and the steps to resume non-essential procedures and begin managing a backlog of patient visits that could not be addressed via telehealth services, this medical practice reopening checklist to outline the various financial, operational, staffing and procedural considerations to resume operations and ramp up work in the coming weeks and months, depending on locality and state.
  • Support for Patients with Diabetes - People with diabetes using Novo Nordisk Inc. insulin who have lost health insurance coverage because of a change in job status due to COVID-19 may now be eligible for enrollment in the company's Diabetes Patient Assistance Program and receive insulin free of charge for 90 days. Criteria can be found on NovoCare.com or by calling 1-844-NOVO4ME (1-844-668-6463).
  • Phone Advice Guidelines for Patients with Possible COVID-19 - This CDC phone script can be used in conjunction with CDC's Decision Algorithm and Messages.
  • Free Daily Community Mindfulness Sessions Available Live Online or By Telephone - Brown School of Public Health has expanded their community mindfulness offerings to once a day. All sessions are live-online, free, and open to the public. All programs are through Zoom video conferencing, which includes the option of joining from your phone. Click here for the daily schedule and topic details.
  • Food and Medication Delivery for Quarantined Rhode Islanders - RI Delivers will help those living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 safely remain home by providing delivery support for those without other help.
  • Video: Lessons from the Field to Care for Yourself and Others During Times of Prolonged Stress - A webinar is now available by the American College of Health Care Executives focused on caring for health team members during stressful time periods, recently shared with practice teams by Nelly Burdette, PsyD. Watch here.
  • RIDOH Medical Home Portal Resources - RIDOH has shared information and resources from their new Medical Home Portal COVID-19 page that includes: General National and Global Information; Rhode Island Resources; Resources for Parents and Families; and Resources for Healthcare Professionals.

View the full briefing here.

Below are the latest health-related news, media announcements, resources, and updates for our CTC-RI practice and community members during the COVID-19 crisis. The below will continue to be provided to you in an anticipated weekly briefing. 

We encourage you to refer to specific health plan policies for further details on billing policies and guidance using the links provided in this briefing.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • 07/29/2020 - Due to a higher rate of COVID-19 spread, Governor Raimondo signed a new executive order that extends Phase 3 for another 30 days (through August 28), but reduced the limits on social gatherings to 15 people or less (previously 25).
  • 07/23/2020 - RIDOH noted the CDC recently made significant updates to certain aspects of its clinical guidance about quarantine, isolation, and testing, and has organized a new quarantine and isolation guidance by population for Rhode Island.

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National and State Guidance for Health Care Providers
  • RIDOH Updated Guidance for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation by Population - Healthcare providers are encouraged to review RIDOH's updated Guidance for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation by Population which reflects an extended home isolation period from seven to 10 days since symptoms first appeared for both symptom and time-based strategies.
  • RIDOH Guidance for Ambulatory Care Settings for Infection Prevention with COVID-19 - This guidance highlights several areas each ambulatory care setting should evaluate to ensure they are meeting the latest standards regarding infection prevention. For the purposes of this guidance, ambulatory care is defined as primary care clinics, outpatient specialty clinics, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, audiology, and other ancillary services as well as hospital outpatient departments, ambulatory surgical centers, specialty care centers (dialysis or infusion), and urgent care clinics.
  • CDC Guidance COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Professionals - Click here for information related to evaluation and testing, preparedness tools, guidance for facilities, and more.
  • CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and Updates on Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs - CMS is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. Learn how CMS is easing the burden and helping providers care for Americans by offering new waivers and flexibilities. For Medicaid in Rhode Island, EOHHS has submitted requests to CMS to make necessary, temporary changes to the Medicaid program outlined here
  • SAMHSA Guidance and Resources - Tools and resources related to substance abuse and mental health services during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Financial Stability and Relief Information for Providers
  • PPP Nonprofit Loan Forgiveness Comes Early - Based on SBA guidance released last month, PPP recipients can apply for loan forgiveness early. In a interim final rule issued in consultation with Treasury, the SBA addresses a number of issues related to the PPP, which was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to small businesses, not-for-profits, and certain other entities hurt by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated government-imposed quarantines. 
  • PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Deadline Extended to August 8 - Congress has extended the deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to August 8, 2020. Resources about the SBA PPP program and updated forgiveness loan application are available on the Financial Management Associates PPP Toolbox website.
  • CARES Act Provider Relief Fund - Access information and Q&A directly related to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund which provides relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The CARES Act creates opportunities for small businesses and non-profits to apply for certain loans and tax credits that will help relieve the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more for summaries of the new provisions.

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PPE Supplies and Healthcare Workforce Updates
  • Healthcare Businesses Must Develop Written COVID-19 Control Plan - As a part of Reopening Rhode Island, all businesses, including healthcare businesses, must develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval, but must be retained on the premises of the business and must made available to RIDOH in the event of an inspection or outbreak. 
  • State Guidance for Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers in Healthcare - On May 23, RIDOH updated its guidance for essential critical infrastructure workers in healthcare, as well as public Health, law enforcement, public safety, first responders and those working in residential/shelter facilities and social services who have been exposed to COVID-19. This update reflects CDC guidance for exposures warranting work restrictions for asymptomatic healthcare personnel. Healthcare workers wearing full and appropriate PPE are not considered exposed and do not need to quarantine. 
  • Disinfectant Vouchers and PPE Orders - Healthcare practices, agencies, or facilities with 50 or fewer employees can request a disinfectant voucher when ordering PPE through the already-established Rhode Island Department of Health webforms. Most healthcare providers are able to now order surgical masks, face shields, and, if applicable, the disinfectant voucher through www.health.ri.gov/masks. Hospitals, EMS, nursing homes, assisted living communities, home health and hospice agencies, health centers, urgent care centers, and healthcare practices that are serving as respiratory care clinics are able to order PPE from www.health.ri.gov/ppe. Further, SupplyRI has put together a list of local Rhode Island businesses that sell PPE, sanitizing supplies, medical equipment, and cleaning services. If you're interested in doing business with these companies, you can download the list here.

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Telehealth and Health Plan Policy and Information
  • RI Medicaid: Changes to Prior Authorization Requirements During Covid-19 Crisis - Prior Authorizations previously extended to May 31, 2020 will be extended through July 31, 2020 to allow additional time for services to be delivered. No action is required by providers. The changes have been applied systematically. Also note that the Prior Authorization requirements are now waived for all services except the following: pharmacy, hospice inpatient, orthodontic treatment, wheelchair and accessories, specialized supply, home modifications, private duty nursing, and personal care services.
  • Rhode Island Insurer Provider Policy Updates - Insurers are maintaining updated information for providers, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RINeighborhood Health Plan of RITufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare
  • 24-Hour Telehealth Opioid Support - RI launched a Buprenorphine Hotline for people with moderate to severe opioid use disorder, offering 24-hour telehealth service access for patients who are seeking initiation of buprenorphine treatment.
  • Simple Telehealth Technology How-To Guides for Seniors - University of RI has put together some simple how-to guides for seniors on how to use telehealth technology like FaceTime and creating a Gmail account.

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Testing and Equity Information for Providers
  • Serology Testing Available for Employees in High-Contact Professions - The RI Department of Health announced the launch of a new round of COVID-19 serology testing. First responders, RI National Guard members, RIDOH staff, correctional workers, hospital and nursing home staff can schedule an antibody test online. Testing is voluntary and confidential. 
  • COVID-19 Tests Now Available to Homebound, Non-Ambulatory Individuals - RIDOH, EOHHS and Alert Ambulance have partnered to provide home-based COVID-19 tests to homebound, non-ambulatory individuals who cannot otherwise get a COVID-19 test. The individual's medical provider must complete a referral form and follow the instructions for submission. Please note that lack of transportation does not qualify an individual for a homebound test. If the individual has a transportation need, they should be referred to MTM at 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) for a ride to a testing site. MTM has supports in place to transport people enrolled in Medicaid and people who qualify for the Elderly Transportation Program (ETP) to COVID-19 testing sites. Eligible individuals can call: 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711). This service is only available if no other transportation options are available.
  • New Interactive Testing Site Locator Tool - RIDOH's testing webpage  now features an interactive RI COVID-19 Testing Site Locator . Simply enter your ZIP code or address to find a respiratory clinic or drive-up/walk-up testing site accepting new patients or patients from other healthcare practices. The locator also highlights testing sites that offer free COVID-19 tests, regardless of health insurance or immigration status, and languages spoken at sites.
  • CVS Adds 10 New Drive-Through Testing Locations - CVS Health has opened 10 new COVID-19 test sites at pharmacies in Rhode Island, increasing the state's daily testing capacity by about 500 tests. The new sites will use self-swab tests with results in approximately three days. Patients must make an appointment in advance at www.cvs.com
  • RIDOH Guidance on End of Isolation and Return to Work Testing: Patients Who Are Healthcare Workers and First Responders - Some patients need testing after COVID-19 symptoms resolve in order to end isolation and return to work. Healthcare workers and first responders such as EMS, fire, and police who have regular, close contact with patients and clients fall into this category. RIDOH does not need to coordinate the end of isolation and return to work testing. Tests can be ordered for asymptomatic patients by ordering the test at one of the drive-up testing sites at CCRI in Warwick or RIC in Providence. Orders can be made through the online system: schedulecovidtest.ri.gov 
  • At-Home Testing By Primary Care Providers - Primary care providers have reached out to RIDOH wanting to conduct home visits to perform testing on their symptomatic patients, and RIDOH has confirmed PCPs can do this. If a practice would like to request less than 20 swabs per week, contact Leslie of East Side Clinical Laboratory (ESCL) at 401-455-8417. If there is a need for more than 20 swabs per week, email Carol.Stone@health.ri.gov Providers will need to pick up the kits, transport media, and send samples for processing to a commercial lab.
  • Resources for Undocumented Immigrants - RIDOH has shared information on places providing access to healthcare regardless of immigration status.

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Additional Practice Resources
  • 0Neighborhood Health Plan Offers Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors and Electronic Scales - Neighborhood Health Plan is allowing 90-day benefit exceptions, in select cases, for Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors and Electronic Scales, ensuring the most at-risk members are able to receive services they need to remain comfortable in their homes.
  • COVID-19 Coloring Pages Available for Pediatric Practices to Share - A child-friendly coloring book has been developed by Children's Hospital of Richmond, available for practices to share with families.
  • Resource Guide: Simple Answers to Top COVID-19 Questions - The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials put together a guide with the 60+ top questions about COVID-19 and clear answers.
  • RIQI Seeking Feedback - The RI Quality Institute has made changes to its services to practice community with the data needed to help you care for patients. The RIQI COVID-19 response team wants to gather your feedback around your needs for COVID-19 data. Please take their short survey here.
  • Walk-In Immunization Clinic for Children Without Insurance or a Provider - The St. Joseph Health Center Walk-In Clinic is an immunization clinic for any child who does not have insurance or is new to Rhode Island and does not yet have a provider. Vaccines are provided at no cost.
  • New Fund Supports Rhode Islanders Locked Out of Federal Emergency Relief Programs - Some communities in Rhode Island have been hit harder than others - especially those locked out of most federal emergency relief programs due to their immigration status. The weR1 Rhode Island Fund is a collaborative effort between government, community, and philanthropic organizations to raise $3 million to provide no-fee debit cards to Rhode Islanders with urgent need due to sickness, job loss or reduction in work hours and who are excluded from these federal programs. The Fund is designed to help close this aid gap. For more information about the fund, visit diiri.org or call 401-784-8600. Language services are available.
  • Family Service of Rhode Island Launches "Be Safe Plus" - This effort delivers fresh foods and cleaning supplies to keep Rhode Island's seniors healthy and well. Eligible individuals include adults age 60+, adults with disabilities who reside in housing facility in which there is a Title IIIC meal site, adult children with disabilities who reside with their parent age 60+, caregivers and spouses of aforementioned individuals, and grandparents or caregivers age 55 and older caring for grandchildren or foster children under age 18. 
  • Free mental health support lines healthcare workers - Lifespan and Care New England have partnered to offer a free service available to all healthcare workers in Rhode Island, and can be accessed Monday - Saturday, 8am - 8pm by calling 401-606-6000. Callers will be offered an appointment for support from an individual provider. There is also a national Peer Support Line for physicians navigating the pandemic. 
  • RI COVID-19 Self-Checker Offers Personalized Risk Assessment - The RI COVID-19 Self-Checker offers a personalized risk assessment that takes into account exposure and preexisting conditions and offers detailed guidance for next steps, based on CDC guidelines. All guidance has been customized to the RI context. The tool is intended to help individuals who are at risk, suspected, presumed, or confirmed positive for COVID-19 to make decisions, seek appropriate medical care and testing, and protect themselves and others. This tool does not replace the judgement of healthcare professionals or the performance of any clinical assessment. It is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19. 
  • Housing Help RI Emergency Rental Assistance Fund Temporarily Closed - Availability for the Housing Help RI emergency rental assistance fund is now temporarily closed. Please check back for future housing assistance opportunities that may become available. 
  • Translated COVID-19 Resources in Rhode Island - RIDOH and Reopening RI resources are available in multiple languages, in addition to resources for the deaf/HOH. Dorcas International is offering a Tech Hotline (1-833-523-0351) where families with tech issues can call and request a language other than English and Spanish, will be connected to an interpreter, who will then contact the IT support people. 
  • COVID-19 Medical Practice Reopening Checklist - MGMA has provided a Medical Practice Reopening Checklist to help medical practices make sense of a reopening strategy and the steps to resume non-essential procedures and begin managing a backlog of patient visits that could not be addressed via telehealth services, this medical practice reopening checklist to outline the various financial, operational, staffing and procedural considerations to resume operations and ramp up work in the coming weeks and months, depending on locality and state.
  • Support for Patients with Diabetes - People with diabetes using Novo Nordisk Inc. insulin who have lost health insurance coverage because of a change in job status due to COVID-19 may now be eligible for enrollment in the company's Diabetes Patient Assistance Program and receive insulin free of charge for 90 days. Criteria can be found on NovoCare.com or by calling 1-844-NOVO4ME (1-844-668-6463).
  • Phone Advice Guidelines for Patients with Possible COVID-19 - This CDC phone script can be used in conjunction with CDC's Decision Algorithm and Messages.
  • Free Daily Community Mindfulness Sessions Available Live Online or By Telephone - Brown School of Public Health has expanded their community mindfulness offerings to once a day. All sessions are live-online, free, and open to the public. All programs are through Zoom video conferencing, which includes the option of joining from your phone. Click here for the daily schedule and topic details.
  • Food and Medication Delivery for Quarantined Rhode Islanders - RI Delivers will help those living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 safely remain home by providing delivery support for those without other help.
  • Video: Lessons from the Field to Care for Yourself and Others During Times of Prolonged Stress - A webinar is now available by the American College of Health Care Executives focused on caring for health team members during stressful time periods, recently shared with practice teams by Nelly Burdette, PsyD. Watch here.
  • RIDOH Medical Home Portal Resources - RIDOH has shared information and resources from their new Medical Home Portal COVID-19 page that includes: General National and Global Information; Rhode Island Resources; Resources for Parents and Families; and Resources for Healthcare Professionals.

Our Mission

The mission of the Care Transformation Collaborative is to lead the transformation of primary care in Rhode Island in the context of an integrated health care system; and to improve the quality of care, the patient experience of care, the affordability of care, and the health of the populations we serve.