Introduction Letter from Nina Marsden
As COVID-19 sweeps across the globe, the health care community is navigating a modern public health crisis. In the United States, providers in all 50 states are caring for patients, working with public health officials to contain the epidemic, and monitoring the health care workforce and never-before-seen patient volumes, all while tracking federal and state regulatory requirements and reimbursement rules that are rapidly changing in the face of the pandemic. Meanwhile, as COVID-19’s heightened threat to nursing facility residents became clear, long term care facilities have adopted unprecedented measures to minimize the risks to their residents while continuing to provide for their complex health care needs amidst looming health care worker shortages.
In recent weeks, news headlines continuously alert us to the severe shortage in testing capabilities and essential health care equipment, alongside the increasing number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. The rapid domestic spread of COVID-19 has placed portions of our health care system in grave danger of exceeding capacity, and in response, health care providers have invested significant resources in preparedness and response measures— increasing workforce and training, constructing temporary structures and developing alternative care sites, and purchasing medical equipment from a struggling supply chain. While providers are grappling with these challenges, they are also facing significant revenue losses due to the cancellation and postponement of non-emergent, elective medical procedures. The government, at the federal, state, and local level, has taken swift and drastic action to prepare for and address this unprecedented strain on our health care resources, relaxing and/or waiving requirements for professional and facility licensure and reimbursement, encouraging and supporting the practice of telemedicine, and developing new avenues for financial support.
Hooper, Lundy, and Bookman stands by and with its clients in navigating the complex challenges presented by COVID-19. We have assembled a task force of litigation, transactional, and regulatory attorneys and government relations professionals to track the latest developments and to provide current, meaningful, and immediate guidance to our clients related to their provision of services, management of existing financial obligations, business operations, and litigation strategies. We have advised clients on coverage and reimbursement for COVID-19 testing and patient care; telehealth and related privacy, security, reimbursement, and coverage questions; novel triage and care arrangements that raise operational questions and EMTALA compliance concerns; and an array of other issues implicating reimbursement, licensure, and compliance. As the government and the health care system struggle to meet the nation’s needs during this pandemic and then, ultimately, to move into a recovery period, we expect these issues to grow more complicated and for new challenges to arise. On our COVID-19 Resource Page, we have compiled HLB insights on COVID-19 related topics and developed a robust inventory of federal, state, and national trade association guidance that will be updated over the course of this public health emergency, and our task force members, and entire professional team, are available for any specific questions.
We extend our sincere gratitude to the health care community, from individual providers to executives, from staff to administration, as it continues its ever-important work on the front lines of this crisis.
Chair, COVID-19 Task Force