COVID-19 Report

Education and Updates from Community Health Center of Connecticut

COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Video – Is your health center ready?
As a leader in primary care innovation, the Weitzman Institute is supporting safety net practices and their patients in response to the spread of COVID-19. We are sharing best practices with health centers nationally.

Please view this video on COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Planning from CHC’s Weitzman Institute focusing on the role of FQHC leadership, staff support, and key strategies for preparedness and easing anxiety.

COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Video Is your health center ready? from Community Health Center, Inc. on Vimeo.

From Conversations on HC: NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci On Global Epidemic & Domestic Preparedness
Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Dr. Anthony Fauci, globally renowned epidemiologist and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Fauci shares the latest findings on COVID-19, a new Coronavirus strain that has spread to nearly 30 countries and left thousands dead. He discusses public health protocols, how to protect against the disease, and vaccines already in the pipeline.

Conversations on HC: Dr. Saad Omer on the Expanding COVID-19 Outbreak
Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Dr. Saad Omer, Director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, on the expanding COVID-19 outbreak. A renowned epidemiologist, Dr. Omer discusses the best protocols against spread of the Coronavirus epidemic, the need for evidence-based science to guide government responses, and how the global research community is working together to tackle this outbreak and create a vaccine in record time.

Be sure to read our Friday Five – Coronavirus Round-Up which includes an informative article from Art Gross as well as another episode focused on the coronavirus on The Incrementalist with host Dr. Nick van Terheyden.

Update from Health Insurance Payors

CVS Health announces COVID-19 resources for Aetna members
CVS Health (@cvshealth) announced several steps to support Aetna members in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Diagnostic testing and telemedicine visits will be available with no co-pay.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies Announce Coverage of Coronavirus Testing for Members and Other Steps to Expand Access to Coronavirus Care
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (@BCBSAssociation) announced that its network of 36 independent and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies will waive prior authorizations and increase coverage for COVID-19 as described below. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies (BCBS) will also increase access to prescription drugs, enhanced telehealth and other clinical support systems. BCBS is making these changes to ensure its members can swiftly access the right care in the right setting during the outbreak. BCBS companies also stand ready to share data and expertise with local public health departments to support the needs of communities we serve.

Cigna Covers Cost of Coronavirus Tests for Customers
Cigna (@cigna) customers will have access to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, as prescribed by health practitioners, and the company will waive all co-pays or cost-shares to help fight the rapid spread of the virus in the U.S. and for its globally mobile customers.

Anthem’s affiliated health plans waive member costs for COVID-19 testing, while supporting telehealth and 90-day maintenance medication supply
Amid the growing concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 in communities across the country, Anthem, Inc. (@AnthemInc), announced its efforts to eliminate the burden of additional costs for members in its affiliated health plans by providing coverage of the coronavirus screening test at no out-of-pocket-cost. The companies also confirm that prior authorization is not required for diagnostic services related to COVID-19 testing.

Community health insurance plans take action to address COVID-19

The Alliance of Community Health Plans (@_ACHP) is committed to addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19, prioritizing prevention, testing and treatment.

Statement by the AHIP Board of Directors: Taking Action to Address Coronavirus COVID-19

As the Board of Directors for America’s Health Insurance Plans (@ahipcoverage), we are fully committed to help America’s powerful health care system meet the challenges posed by the Coronavirus strain COVID-19. We are taking decisive action to help prevent the spread of this disease, to ensure that people have coverage for and access to needed testing, and to help patients who are infected receive the care and treatment they need.

Health Insurance Providers Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

While most reported cases of COVID-19 are in other countries, the number of cases in the United States continues to increase. Here are some ways health insurance providers are taking action.

News and Noted

Trump signs $8.3 billion coronavirus package
According to The Hill, President Trump on Friday signed a billl providing $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Apple is rejecting coronavirus apps that aren’t from health organizations, app makers say
CNBC reports that Apple is cracking down on apps related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that aren’t from recognized institutions like governments or hospitals.

Former VA Secretary David Shulkin discusses coronavirus risk

Additionally, Secretary David Shulkin has been a guest on PopHealth Week speaking with hosts Fred Goldstein and Gregg Masters, MPH about innovation at the VA as well as the private sector.

Telemedicine – A Powerful Tool for COVID-19 Management
GlobalMed (@globalmed_usa) reports that as the number of documented cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, health officials and providers are exploring virtual care delivery to screen patients for infection away from crowded emergency departments and provide a safer care alternative for those in isolation after a positive diagnosis. This isn’t the first time that telemedicine has been considered for the treatment of infectious disease, but growing concerns over a widespread outbreak are certainly pushing it to the forefront.

Cancellations Due to Coronavirus

AMIA Statement on AMIA 2020 Informatics Summit Cancellation
After careful consideration and based on recent reports from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), AMIA is announcing the cancellation of the AMIA 2020 Informatics Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Houston, Texas, March 23-26. Our primary concern at this point is protecting everyone involved with the conference from contracting or spreading COVID-19.

National Health Policy Conference
As the nation continues to prepare for a potential widespread impact of the Coronavirus strain COVID-19, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is cancelling its upcoming National Health Policy Conference and National Conference on Individual and Small Group Market in Washington, D.C., scheduled March 18-20, out of an abundance of caution for our conference speakers, attendees, and staff.

Statement about vMed20 Cancellation due to Covid-19
After a year of planning and record interest in this year’s Virtual Medicine (vMed) conference, with over 415 registrants to date, we are proud and gratified to see our vMed community grow so much in the past year. It is therefore with great disappointment that we must inform you that Virtual Medicine ’20, scheduled for March 25-26th at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, must now be canceled due to concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. The planning committee has come to this very difficult decision with a heavy heart.

HIMSS 2020 Has Been Canceled
Following last Thursday’s announcement the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition in Orlando would be canceled due to reports from the World Health Organization and the CDC on the growing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), HIMSS posted a notice on Friday plans to take aspects of the conference virtual.

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