October 20, 2020


Repayment Terms Clarified for COVID-19 Accelerated/Advance Payments

Congress has passed legislation that changed and clarified the repayment terms for the COVID-19 accelerated/advance payments. These changes include:

  • An extension of the repayment period has been issued and the automatic recoupment will now begin one year after the date the accelerated or advance payment was issued.
  • During the first 11 months after repayment begins, the recoupment rate will be 25% and repayment will occur through an automatic recoupment of the provider/supplier Medicare payments.
  • At the end of the 11-month period, the recoupment rate will increase from 25% to 50%. The automatic recovery at the 50% recoupment rate will continue for six months.

If the total amount of the accelerated/advance payment is not recovered within 29 months from the date the payment was made, a demand letter for the outstanding balance will be issued. The demanded amount will be subject to a 4% interest rate. 


Expanded List of Medicare Telehealth Services

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they have, "Released an expanded list of telehealth services that Medicare will pay for during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Effective immediately, Medicare will begin paying eligible practitioners for 11 additional services delivered via telehealth, including certain cardiac rehabilitation and monitoring services." Information on newly added Medicare telehealth services and codes is available here (search for the codes added 10/14/20). 


    2021 Medicare Open Enrollment Is Open

    Last week, CMS announced that 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment is officially open and will run through December 7, 2020. More than 60 million people with Medicare can review health and drug plans, and make changes to their healthcare coverage for next year, based on their financial and medical needs. Counseling on Medicare options is available through the nonprofit State Health Insurance Assistance Program or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).


    Second Round of Health Care Stabilization Grants and Frontline Hazard Pay Funding Soon Available

    Last week, the State of Vermont announced they are now accepting applications for a second round of funding through the Health Care Stabilization Grant Program, for health care providers who have experienced losses and expenses due to COVID-19.  The second application window opened on October 19, 2020 and will run through November 6, 2020. Health care and human service providers may use the application to seek grant funding for both lost revenue and additional expenses due to COVID-19 for the period March 1 – September 15, 2020. If you applied for funding during the Round 1 Application Period, you may apply again during Round 2. For the application and more information click here.

    Applications will also reopen for the Frontline Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 9 a.m. for employers whose employees may be eligible for a hazard pay grant. Eligibility for the second round of hazard pay has been expanded to include additional employers whose employees substantially responded to the COVID-19 public health emergency during the eligible period, March 13, 2020 through May 15, 2020.  This competitive funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with demand expected to exceed available funding. Click here for more information.

    NEW! Commissioner Call Update

    VMS weekly calls with Vermont Department of Health Commissioner, Mark Levine, M.D. are held each Thursday from 12:30-1:00 p.m. on ZOOM - click below for the virtual meeting address that will remain constant each week. 

    NEW! Once a month, VMS has a guest speaker during this call time, as the Commissioner has a conflict. Join VMS at 12:30 on Thursday, October 22nd using the Zoom link below for a 2020 Legislative Update with Jessa, Steph and Jill

    Join Zoom Meeting -https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86726253105?pwd=VkVuNTJ1ZFQ2R3diSVdqdlJ2ZG4yQT09

    Meeting ID: 867 2625 3105 / Password: 540684

    Dial In: 1 646 876 9923 / Meeting ID: 867 2625 3105 / Password: 540684


    Need CME Credits for Relicensure?

    Vermont-licensed physicians must renew their licenses and attest to completing 15 hours of CME credit by November 30, 2020, including one hour on hospice/palliative care/pain management and two hours on prescribing controlled substances. Need some ideas for how to meet these requirements? The Vermont Academic Detailing program is a university-based prescriber education and support program.  All sessions are free and are currently being offered over Zoom. A new topic is now available on Managing "Headline Stress" In The Setting of COVID-19. Other topics on Fibromyalgia, Management of Opioids and Advanced Management of Opioids meet an hour of the Vermont prescribing controlled substances requirement. VMS also has a list of other sources of free and low cost CME and don’t forget the VMS annual meeting educational sessions coming up November 7th!


    E/M Office Visit Changes Effective Jan 2021

    Effective January 1, 2021, CMS has adopted major modifications to coding, documentation, and payment of evaluation and management (E/M) services for office visit CPT codes (99201-99215). This includes the elimination of code 99201. We encourage you to read about the changes and what they mean for your practice. The American Medical Association (AMA) has developed an extensive online library of resources to assist with the transition, which includes the following titles:


        National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is October 24, 2020

        This Saturday, October 24th, the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) and Vermont drug disposal sites are partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to participate in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. These collection days are typically held twice a year, but the Drug Take Back Day in April 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, disposal sites across Vermont will provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications, while educating about the potential for medication misuse, accidental ingestion and overdose. Please click here for more information and for a map of the disposal sites. 

        New Webinar on E/M Coding Changes: What Will Happen to the Physician Note?Wed., Oct 28, 2020 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

        Sponsored by the American Medical Association and Nordic, esteemed panelists Dr. Barbara Levy, a member of AMA’s CPT® Editorial Panel, and Dr. Craig Joseph, Nordic’s Chief Medical Officer, will discuss how physician organizations can maximize physician satisfaction and improve clinical documentation while adhering to the E/M rules effective in 2021. The panelists will also cover the high-level 2021 E/M modifications, specific changes to ambulatory note templates and ideas to improve the documentation process. Register here.

        VMS November Webinar: Let’s Take a Moment for YOUR Wellness!

        Please join us on Thursday, November 19, 2020 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm for our VMS November webinar. During this noontime wellness focused webinar, speakers Joe Lasek, M.D., and Doug Wysockey-Johson, M.Div., local leading experts on mental health and wellness will be exploring the value and strategies behind maintaining wellness as a medical professional. To register click here. To see the entire VMS Thursday Webinar series for 2020/2021 click here. 

        Howard Center Recognizes World Mental Health Day (WHMD): through connecting to the global world mental health movement and hosting community-wide recognition and celebration of WMHD throughout the month of October 2020.

        • October 26, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: Exercise and Other 'Leisure Activities' and Mental Health, w/Speaker John Koutras, M.D. Register

        Click here for more information and registration.

        Seeking Palliative Care CME credits for relicensure? VEN's Fall Palliative Care VIRTUAL Conference, "Informed Consent: More Than A Piece of Paper"

        Monday, Nov. 9, 2020

        8:15 a.m. - 4:15pm EST

        Unpacking the ethical, legal and practical considerations of obtaining informed consent in complex clinical situations and at end-of-life with plenary talks by Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD and Guy Matal, MD. Click to register here

        Osteoporosis Update for Primary Care

        Friday, November 6, 2020

        7:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

        This half-day virtual conference features course Director Jennifer Kelly, DO and other UVM Health Network faculty, who will present on topics designed to improve the skills of the primary care team when they encounter patients who have, or who are at risk of developing, osteoporosis. Register. See the full 2020/2021 Continuing Medical Education schedule here. 

        RME Collaborative’s 2020 Rural Health Clinical Congress

        Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020

        9 a.m. EST

        An interactive, multi-topic, complimentary CME/CE conference held in conjunction with National Rural Health Day, designed for primary care providers who care for patients in rural and underserved areas. Click here to learn more and register 


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        PO Box 1457

        Montpelier, VT 05601

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