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COVID-19 Alert: Healthcare Practice Group

By Health Care

Our firm is committed to monitoring Virginia’s response to the continued spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and how our healthcare clients will be affected.  We are keeping abreast of any official declarations and guidance issued by the Officer of the Governor, the Attorney General’s Office, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Epidemiology, and the federal government.  As you are aware, this is a constantly evolving situation and new information is being released and published on an ongoing basis.
 
In the meantime, we wanted to alert you to where the most reliable and relevant information is being published and continuously updated. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our attorneys with any questions about how to respond to this situation from a healthcare or employment perspective.
 
The CDC is posting its up-to-date guidance here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
 
The Virginia Department of Health has created a website and is continuously updating it with information. As you will see, there is a specific tab dedicated to healthcare professionals: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/.
 
The Virginia Department of Health has also published this FAQ document, which has questions and answers with respect to testing, quarantine protocols, and workplace safety: 
http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/13/2020/03/Provider_FAQ_03082020.pdf.
 
The Virginia Department of Health has published general guidance for business and employers as well, which is available here: 
http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/13/2020/03/VDH-Business-Guidance_03.08.20-1.pdf.
 
The Virginia Department of Health has directed healthcare employers to consult the OSHA guidelines available here with respect to safety guidelines for employees:  https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html.

At the federal level, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a limit waiver of certain HIPAA sanctions to improve data sharing and patient care; however, these only currently apply to hospitals in very limited situations.  

On March 19th, the Office for Civil Rights with the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would “exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.” Please note that they have specifically stated that Facebook Live, Twitch, TikTok, and similar video communication applications that are public-facing should not be utilized for telehealth services. The full announcement is available here: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html. 

We also understand that providers have been receiving updated CPT codes from third-party payors over the past week to allow them to properly bill for services rendered via telemedicine. 

Making decisions at this point requires an interdisciplinary approach. Our lawyers in every practice area are working closely together to advise our healthcare clients during this time of uncertainty, including advising our clients on how to provide many services via telemedicine. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our lawyers. 


The contents of this publication are intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts and circumstances. Copyright 2020.