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August 5, 2020

Around the nation: CMS announces payment initiatives for coronavirus counseling and therapies

Daily Briefing

    Under the two new payment initiatives, CMS will reimburse providers for counseling patients during coronavirus testing and track the use and efficacy of Covid-19 therapeutics, such as remdesivir and convalescent plasma, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Colorado, Connecticut, and Maryland.

    • Colorado: Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment is declaring racism a public health crisis. According to Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the department, the declaration will be a formal policy within the department, and the department aims to increase diversity among its workforce and make it easier for local organizations serving people of color to partner with the state government (Johnson, The Hill, 7/31).

    • Connecticut: Richard D'Aquila, president of Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Health, will be stepping down, effective Oct. 5. D'Aquila joined Yale New Haven Hospital as EVP and COO in 2006, before becoming president of the hospital in 2012. D'Aquila became president of Yale New Haven Health in 2016. Keith Churchwell, former COO and EVP of Yale New Haven Health System, will succeed D'Aquila (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 7/31).

    • Maryland: CMS on Thursday announced two new payment initiatives: one that will reimburse providers for counseling patients during coronavirus testing, and one that will help CMS monitor the efficacy of therapeutics for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Counseling patients includes educating them about the importance of self-isolation, even before the onset of Covid-19 symptoms, which CMS said could significantly curb the coronavirus' spread. Meanwhile, under the second payment initiative, CMS is establishing new procedure codes to enable Medicare and other insurers to identify when Covid-19 therapeutics, such as the experimental treatments remdesivir and convalescent plasma, are used to treat Covid-19 patients—a move that will help the agency track real-time data on the drugs' effectiveness (Morse, Healthcare Finance News, 7/30; Ault, Medscape, 7/30; Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 7/30).

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