Flexibility in Policies & Deadlines Impacting Physicians
In response to COVID-19, there have been a number of federal, state and other governing bodies that have granted flexibility to physicians in a number of ways—including regulatory reporting, licensure, certification and other requirements. Below are the details on several of these changes and what they mean for Ohio physicians and medical practices.
Ohio Medicaid Formally Requests Waiver from the Federal Government
On April 14, 2020, the Ohio Department of Medicaid submitted a waiver request to the federal government to create additional flexibility in the program. The waiver would allow Ohio to:
Bolster the use of telehealth and other technology for health assessments and care planning.
Waive signature requirements for a variety of providers to ensure safe distancing without compromising access to care.
Ease obstacles to access nursing home care.
Allow services to be provided at alternative locations.
Remove staffing-level requirements to give providers more flexibility.
Waive penalties under EMTALA to allow emergency department screening in other locations and by electronic means (video, etc.)
OSMA will continue to keep you updated on this waiver request and any other news related to the Medicaid program.
Medicare Enrollment & Revalidation Requirement Changes
Medicare has created new flexibility for physicians eligible to enroll in Medicare. Specifically, it has:
Established a toll-free hotline to enroll and receive temporary Medicare billing privileges (1-855-769-9920 open 8am-5pm).
Waived certain screening requirements.
Temporarily ceased revalidation efforts for all Medicare providers or suppliers.
Most National Boards Announce Revised Requirements for MOC & Other Activities
Most of the major national Boards have announced changes to Maintenance of Certification requirements, with the majority pushing 2020 deadlines to next year.
American Board of Internal Medicine: Announced Monday that:
“Any physician who is currently certified and has a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirement due in 2020—including an assessment, point requirement or attestation—will now have until the end of 2021 to complete it. Physicians currently in their grace year will also be afforded an additional grace year in 2021.”
> Read the Full Statement
American Board of Family Practice: Most 2020 deadlines for MOC, re-entry, etc. have been extended for one year.
American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS): Specific deadlines for the other Boards can be referenced through the ABMS website.
Reminder of Ohio Medical Board Licensure Changes
We have provided updates on Medical Board actions in earlier communications, but are still getting questions from members.
Specifically with regards to CME for licensure renewal, the Board will not take action against physicians who are unable to complete CME by their renewal date. It’s important to note the Board isn’t waiving any requirements. Rather, they understand it might be difficult for physicians to obtain CME during this time, and therefore aren’t going to pursue action against physicians who don’t complete CME on time. This is effective March 9, 2020 through March 1, 2021.
As you know, Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) is committed to keeping Ohio physicians informed on state and federal updates related to COVID-19, especially how they impact Ohio’s medical practices and healthcare professionals.