COVID-19 Email Update - July 2, 2020

A Message From Dr. Rebecca Wartman, NCOS Third Party Liaison

COVID-19 NC DHHS Coalition Call - July 1, 2020

The measures used by NC DHHS are still showing an increasing trajectory for most measures at this point. However, the testing capacity, contact tracing and PPE remains adequate for NC.

Currently, the number of hospital beds in NC is adequate as are the number of available ventilators. Hospitalizations in NC for COVID-19 continue to run above 900 patients. These hospital numbers include those in the hospital for all reasons and not just COVID-19 filled hospital beds.

COVID-19 numbers for July 2, 2020 for NC can be found here.

US Coronavirus Data

Note: Yesterday's number is in parentheses for each data point below. More information on these calculations can be found here. 

New US Cases: 51,097 (vs. 46,042) 
Total US Cases: 2,779,953 (vs. 2,727,853) 
US Case Doubling Time: 50.41 days (vs. 51.17 days) 
Reported US Mortality Rate: 4.7% (vs. 4.8%) 

Source: Worldometer, which compiles data from international agencies and national statistical offices around the world.

North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry 

The NCSBEO issued it's tenth advisory yesterday. 

Click here to read the latest advisory. 

EyeBridge Consulting and ImageMark Join Forces to Provide Signage and COVID-19 Products Specifically for Eye Care Practices

EyeBridge Consulting Associates and ImageMark Business Services, a printing, branding and marketing company, have teamed up to provide COVID-19 signage and other related resources specifically designed for eye care practices. 

"Our goal is to provide a safe environment for patients, staff and doctors" said Dr. Ann Hoscheit, founder of EyeBridge Consulting Associates, ODPA and NCOS member. "Communication is essential when we're trying to achieve this goal. ImageMark has created some very professional communication tools that make it easy for eye care practices adhere to CDC recommendations.

In recognition of the recent public unrest across the nation where many eye care practices were damaged, a percentage of sales from eye care products will be donated to the AOA's Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief. 

Click here to continue reading the press release and click here to view the product flyer.

Palmetto COVID-19 Accelerated/Advance Payment (AAP) Repayment FAQ 

The following FAQ were created to help providers understand the process and options of repaying accelerated/advance payments (AAPs) issued for COVID-19. Please review this information and share it with your staff.

Click here to read the FAQ. 

CDC Director Statement - June 25, 2020 

The director of the CDC said on Thursday that there may be 10 times more COVID-19 infections in the U.S. than have been reported. In a telephone briefing with reporters, Robert Redfield said the CDC made the estimate based on the results of antibody tests conducted around the country. "Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections," Redfield said.

Click here to listen to the briefing.

#AskAOA Webinar: Contact Lens Rule Update - Critical Information for Doctors of Optometry

When: Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 9:00 PM

To learn more about the Contact Lens Rule changes, doctors of optometry can join an upcoming #AskAOA webinar to hear the latest on the AOA's efforts on the rulemaking and to learn how doctors can engage with their members of Congress on this important issue. Additionally, the AOA will share a "2020 Contact Lens Rule Compliance Toolkit" in advance of this webinar, that will include information about the rule, instructions on methods to comply and template materials.

Click here to register.

CMS announces relief for clinicians participating in 2020 QPP 

Clinicians significantly impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency may submit an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Application for re-weighting of any or all Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance categories. 

Those requesting relief via the application must provide a justification of how their practice has been significantly impacted by the public health emergency. The Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Application for Performance Year 2020 is currently open and will close Dec. 31, 2020. 

For more information, visit the CMS' QPP exceptions page.

COVID-19 Antigen Testing Code 

The AMA announced an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) that includes a new code for reporting antigen testing of patients suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). 

The new code is intended for use as the industry standard for accurate reporting and tracking of antigen tests using an immunofluorescent or immunochromatographic technique for the detection of biomolecules produced by the SAR-CoV-2 virus. 

For quick reference, the new Category I CPT codes and long descriptors are: 

87426 Infectious agent antigen detection by immunoassay technique, (eg, enzyme immunoassay [EIA], enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], immunochemiluminometric assay [IMCA]) qualitative or semiquantitative, multiple-step method; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (eg, SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19]) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19])

Free Beta Version of Remote Eye Exam Tool to Try 

Quadrant Eye is in the process of building out all the exam features, but put out a beta version for use. The beta can be found here

The graphic in the link will explain how to use the remote eye exam tool, which allows patients to input their CC/HPI/ROS and some eye exam findings (e.g. near VA, ishihara, etc) and physically clicking on the graphic will take you to the remote eye exam. 

FCC Boosts Rural Health Program Funding to Support Telehealth Expansion 

The Federal Communications Commission is adding almost $200 million to the Rural Health Care Program, giving providers more resources to expand broadband connectivity to support telehealth and mHealth platforms.

Click here to learn more.

NC DHHS COVID-19 Dashboard Updates 

Numerous valuable resources have been updated or newly-added to NCDHHS's COVID-19 dashboard

New Resources

Excess Deaths From COVID-19 and Other Causes (7/2/20)

The D614G Mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Reduces S1 Shedding and Increases Infectivity (7/2/20)

COVID-19: This is When Life Will Return to Normal, According to the Experts(7/2/20)

FBI Warns of Potential Fraud in Antibody Testing for COVID-19 (7/2/20)

Coronavirus Q&A: Update From the CDC: Anne Schuchat (7/2/20)

COVID-19 Antibodies Can Disappear After 2-3 Months, Study Shows (7/2/20)

NCOS COVID-19 Updates & Resources Page

Click here!

COVID-19 Statistics

NCDHHS COVID-19 Dashboard

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

WorldoMeter Coronavirus Website