Genetic Diseases of the Kidney

Weekly ASN Recap, April 5-11: COVID-19 Resources

asn logo small_0.jpgThe world is adjusting to the new and uncertain realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. ASN has worked tirelessly to address many of the important topics related to the changes. Please see below for many vital COVID-19 resources.


On the Front Lines

Visa Issues Could Sideline Some Nephrologists, Critical During COVID-19

Every physician is critical in the battle against COVID-19, but some may soon find themselves sidelined—not by the illness but by the complexities of a U.S. visa process, which can leave applicants in limbo as they transition from one legal status to another.

In a March 2020 letter, ASN asked congressional leaders to encourage the administration to enact policies to make sure no law-abiding physician or medical resident who wants to come to or remain in the United States is prevented from doing so. The letter called for:

CMS: Further guidance on telehealth, exceptions and extensions for quality measure reporting and data submission

Given the enormous impact of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the healthcare system, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and other members of the kidney community have requested regulatory relief for clinicians and facilities on multiple fronts over the past few weeks. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services are responding in kind. The following is an update for ASN members on several major steps of importance to nephrologists and their patients that CMS has taken, particularly:

ASN President Anupam Agarwal, MD, FASN, meets with President Donald Trump

Calling attention to the unique needs of kidney patients in the COVID-19 Pandemic and advocating for specific policy changes to meet those needs was ASN President Anupam Agarwal, MD, FASN’s focus during a meeting Wednesday afternoon with President Donald Trump. The meeting also included Vice President Mike Pence, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M.

ASN Recommends Temporary Policy Changes to Trump Administration Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The approximately 500,000 Americans on dialysis and 222,000 Americans with kidney transplants are among the most vulnerable to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. ASN is coordinating with the federal government to address the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the highest quality of care for those affected by kidney disease.

In a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Alex Azar, ASN suggests multiple temporary policy changes in the context of this pandemic that affect those living with kidney disease including:

Teleheath Waiver: Due to COVID-19, Medicare opening telehealth to non-public facing applications

In the wake of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, the Medicare program is expanding telehealth coverage enabling clinicians to provide a wider range of health care services to their patients without those patients having to travel to a health care facility thereby reducing exposure. The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) strongly supports this bold move. Retroactive to March 6, 2020, Medicare, under waiver authority, will temporarily allow and pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.

Summary of ASN/NephJC Twitter Chat: COVID-19 and the Kidneys

Gretchen Brandt MD, FASN - Washington, DC
 

American Board of Internal Medicine Update on COVID-19, Spring Assessments Cancelled

ABIM announced that they have cancelled all spring assessments. No physician will have their certification status negatively impacted due to this decision. Click here for ABIM updates on COVID-19. Please contact ABIM directly with questions.

New CPT Code Available for Reporting and Tracking COVID-19

A new CPT® code, 87635, has been released for immediate use for novel coronavirus testing offered by hospitals, health systems, and laboratories in the United States.  The code became effective Friday, March 13, 2020, for reporting of novel coronavirus tests across the entire healthcare system. Because of the immediate release and use of the code, clinicians will need to manually upload this code descriptor into their electronic health record (EHR) system.

New CJASN Paper Identifies End Points for Primary Hyperoxaluria Clinical Trials

While there are many incentives to invest in rare diseases, well designed clinical trials are critical to getting the new therapies conceived by pharmaceutical companies to the people who need them.  

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