COVID-19: Important Policy 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.
COVID-19 Impact on Colorectal Cancer: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Thursday concluded that roughly 10,000 more people will die from breast and colorectal cancer over the next decade because of disruption in care caused by COVID-19. “Clearly, postponing procedures and deferring care as a result of the pandemic was prudent at one time, but the spread, duration, and future peaks of COVID-19 remain unclear. However, ignoring life-threatening non–COVID-19 conditions such as cancer for too long may turn one public health crisis into many others. Let's avoid that outcome.” The NIH has also announced it is launching a nationwide analytics platform to collect COVID-19 patient data for research to help the speed the development of treatments.
Provider Relief Fund Updates and Datasets: The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS): has posted a resource on Provider Relief Fund disbursements to serve as summary of the key details. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted a dataset of provider payments from the Provider Relief Fund. The dataset includes who has attested to receiving one or more payments and agreed to the terms and conditions as of June 10th. HHS also launched an application portal to distribute $15 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Fund payments to eligible Medicaid and CHIP physicians and organizations. Eligible physicians and organizations have until July 20, 2020 to submit their application.
SBA Loan Updates: Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it had reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Advance Program to small businesses and nonprofits. The SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) website has updated its FAQs for lenders and borrowers. The SBA, jointly with the Department of Treasury, has announced a new EZ version loan forgiveness process for the Paycheck Protection Program. The SBA will stop approving PPP loans after June 30th, but Congress is considering an extension and making it easier for businesses to convert the loans into grants.
Employee Safety: The Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its guidance for worker safety during the transition to reopening.
Congress: Substantive action on the next COVID-19 stimulus bill appears to be stalled due to other important priorities. However, according to Congress, another COVID-19 relief package remains a priority, including a focus on whether to consider retaining the COVID-19 related telehealth waivers when the public health emergency ends. ACG will continue to work with Congress on these important issues impacting GI practices.
New ACG Practice Management Committee Survey on Resuming Endoscopy Services
From ACG Practice Management Committee Chair and Member, ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force, Louis J. Wilson, MD, FACG
ACG Practice Management Committee Survey: Please Participate Now
We are seeking your help in updating the College on the status of your GI practice and resumption of endoscopy services in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please take a few minutes and complete this important survey. This is a follow-up survey from an April 2020 survey many of you completed and will help guide ACG’s recommendations moving forward.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has led to millions of infections worldwide with tragic loss of life. Lockdown measures necessary to mitigate the spread of the infection have also caused extensive economic damage, resulted in millions of lost jobs, and marked disruption of our healthcare system. An April 2020 ACG Practice Management Committee survey revealed important changes to GI practice operations, severe reductions in revenue across all gastroenterology practice models, and a significant impact on patient access to endoscopy. The key findings from this April 2020 survey were discussed in a ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force webinar in April, as well as in the May 2020 Task Force’s guidance document on resuming endoscopy services.
We Need Your Help: Updating ACG on the Status of Your Practice
Please take a few minutes and complete this survey as soon as possible. Please also encourage your ACG colleagues to participate in the survey as well. Your participation is critical for the ACG Practice Management Committee and ACG Endoscopy Resumption Task Force’s continued efforts to provide practical recommendations moving forward.
ACG Guidance on Safely 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 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.
Interested in learning more on the latest information on your state? The CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are made by state and local health departments or healthcare providers. The Council of State Governments website is tracking information on your state (updated regularly).