COVID-19: Important Updates for GI Practices

From ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council Chair, Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

In an effort to keep ACG members up-to-date on important updates in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, please find below the latest information tailored for GI practices.

IRS Provides Guidance on Provider Relief Fund: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued brief FAQs on the taxation of payments from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) and the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). As to the PRF, the IRS says that a “payment from the Provider Relief Fund is includible in gross income under section 61 of the Code.” Payments received by tax-exempt providers from the PRF generally are not taxable; however, a payment may be subject to tax if the payment reimburses the provider for expenses or lost revenue attributable to an unrelated trade or business. Click here for the IRS guidance.

ACG is working with Congress and policymakers to change this IRS decision.

Congress Extends PPP: On Saturday, July 4, President Trump signed into law S. 4116 which reauthorizes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through August 8, 2020. This extends the PPP loan assistance for small businesses which had been set to expire on June 30th for another 6 weeks. The bill passed both chambers with bipartisan support. Click here for ACG’s guidance on the PPP. The U.S. Treasury Department also provides updated guidance.

New CPT Code for COVID-19 Antigen Testing: The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced a new CPT code for reporting antigen testing of patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19. The new code is intended for accurate reporting and tracking of antigen tests.

CPT 87426: Infectious agent antigen detection by immunoassay technique (e.g., enzyme immunoassay [EIA], enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], immunochemiluminometric assay [IMCA]), qualitative or semiquantitative, multiple-step method; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (e.g., SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19]).

FDA Approves New Antigen Test: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved an Emergency Use Authorization for Point of Care COVID-19 Antigen Test. This is the second antigen test the FDA has authorized for the detection of antigens.

FDA Updates FAQs and List of Approved Respirators: The FDA recently updated their FAQs on testing for COVID-19. The FDA also recently updated its list of Respirator Models Removed from Appendix A (Respirator Models No Longer Authorized).

House Passes Health Care Package: The U.S. House recently passed amended version of the Patient Protection and Affordability Enhancement Act (HR 1425), which seeks to bolster certain health coverage and affordability provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Energy and Commerce Committee has posted a one page summary. Please note that the U.S. Senate does not plan to take up this bill.

ACG Joins Medical Societies Urging for More H-1B Visas: This week ACG joined the AMA and others urging the federal government to advise embassies and consulates that H-1B physicians and their dependent family members’ entry into the U.S. is in the national interest of the country.  Please see the letter here.

ACG Guidance on Reopening Your Endoscopy Center: Find the Latest Information on Your State

From Chair and Vice Chair of the ACG Board of Governors, Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG and Patrick E. Young, MD, FACG

“Federal guidance is extensive, but local regulations and conditions dominate”

The ACG Board of Governors and the ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force are closely monitoring the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in certain areas of the country, including recent announcements to further delay elective procedures. The CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing requirements and reopening are made at the state and local level. Interested in learning more on the latest information on your state? Your state governor's website will have the latest information on COVID-19 prevalence and plans for reopening. The Council of State Governments website is tracking information on your state (updated regularly).

The ACG Guidance on Safely Reopening Your Endoscopy Center recognizes that not all areas of the country are the same, and each region/state is dealing with various levels of COVID-19 prevalence, ability to test patients/staff, as well as the ability to access personal protective equipment. The ACG Governors continue to monitor state executive orders on reopening our practices and expanding procedures across the U.S. Many ACG members have recently received communications from your ACG Governor, providing the latest information on your state. The ACG Board of Governors will continue to monitor these developments on your behalf and keep you updated.

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