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.

ACG Urging Congress to Make PPP and Provider Relief Fund Changes: This week ACG President Mark Pochapin, MD, FACG urged Congress to make necessary changes to the Payment Protection Program (PPP) and Provider Relief Fund. These programs were intended to support ACG members and GI practices through the worst public health crisis in generations, yet now come with federal tax consequences. As Congress addresses additional COVID-19 relief legislation, ACG is urging Congress to clarify that providers receiving PPP funds are able to maintain ordinary business tax deductions for expenses attributable to PPP funds, and payments from the Provider Relief Fund are not subject to federal taxation.

CMS and Telehealth: This week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma discussed agency actions related to telehealth. Administrator Verma stated that CMS is reviewing temporary changes made during the pandemic and assessing which flexibilities should be made permanent through regulatory action. ACG continues to work with policymakers on extending these important telehealth flexibilities.

HHS “Telemedicine Hack” Course: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a 10-week learning course on telemedicine beginning Wednesday, July 22—Sept 23, 2020. There is no cost for this course and CME credits are available. Among the topics: workflows, documentation, best practices, and reimbursement. Register here.

ACG will continue to update members on the latest public policy news impacting clinical GI and our patients.

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.

New ACG Practice Management Toolbox Article: Answering the Call: Improving Telephone Management in Your Practice

New this week to the ACG Practice Management Toolbox is an article brought to you by committee members Syed Hussain, MD and Sapna Thomas, MD, FACG. This article goes in-depth on how to maximize phone call contact with patients and prospective patients, and how to deal with any issues that may arise while utilizing phone call contact. Read the article here.

Register for New ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force Webinar: COVID-19: Overcoming Operational Challenges of the New Normal