The Arizona Medical Association is working closely with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that Arizona's physicians are provided with the most up-to-date information pertaining to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Watch Governor Ducey's news conference on COVID-19 from May 28, 2020:
Click here to watch Governor Ducey's previous news conferences on COVID-19
On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Governor Ducey announced that he would be allowing his modified stay-at-home order to expire on Friday, May 15. The move comes after Governor Ducey announced he would begin to ease restrictions on restaurants, sporting venues, retail businesses, and other public spaces throughout the month of May. You can learn more here.
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, Governor Ducey announced the signing of Executive Order 2020-32 to allow hospitals and other health care facilities to resume certain elective surgeries if the facilities could demonstrate at least a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), among other benchmarks. Click here for more information.
On Thursday, April 16, 2020, President Trump announced a three-phase process that states are recommended to undertake in order to lift their respective shutdowns. Under the process, states would first need to show a "downward trajectory" in COVID-19 cases as well as expanded testing, among other improvements, in order to move toward reopening businesses. Despite meeting none of President Trump's criteria, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida are all taking major steps to begin lifting their shutdowns.
Beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Governor Ducey's Executive Order, instituting his moderated version of a 'Stay at Home' order, will go into effect at least until April 30, meaning that Arizonans shall limit their time away from their home, except: • To conduct or participate in essential activities, and/or; • For employment, to volunteer or participate in essential functions; or • To utilize any services or products provided by essential business services; • And for employment, if as a sole proprietor or family-owned business, work is conducted in a separate office space from your home and the business is not open to serve the public.
Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), among other new guidelines, is instructing people to not visit nursing homes and other long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance in an emergency. All expiration dates for Arizona driver licenses are suspended in order to minimize activity at MVD locations.
ADHS confirms that if someone in your family/household has tested positive for COVID-19, you must keep the entire household at home and contact your medical provider as soon as possible. Additionally, as usual, stay home if you are sick and otherwise continue to maintain a high level of social/physical distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
ADHS, in compliance with new federal guidelines from the CDC, recommends that organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 or more people for the next eight weeks at least (through the end of April). Businesses are also strongly encouraged to utilize telework and other alternatives to the traditional workplace environment when possible.
On Friday, May 15, 2020, ADHS announced that the Arizona Testing Blitz would be extended for two more weekends, to May 30. People who visit an Arizona Testing Blitz site can get a PCR test, which is a diagnostic test that determines if a person is currently infected with COVID-19. The cost of the test will vary by site depending on which healthcare partner is providing the testing and you may be required to pre-register. Read more here.
On Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they would be increasing payments for audio-only telephone visits between
Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits. This would increase payments for these services from a range of about $14-$41 to about $46-$110, with the payments being retroactive to March
1, 2020. The move is primarily in response to joint AMA-ArMA advocacy on the matter. Click here to
read the letter that was sent to CMS and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) on April 29.
On Thursday, April 23, 2020, ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ announced in an online post that anyone who believes they were exposed to COVID-19 and may be infected will soon be eligible for testing in Arizona. "We [have] issued updated standing orders, expanding the criteria for testing to anyone who thinks they have been exposed to and could be infected with COVID-19," Dr. Christ said. "Previously, this order was limited to high-risk individuals and those with specific symptoms." Click here for more information.
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, ADHS launched the Arizona Surge Line. The new call line is now live, toll-free, and available 24/7. Hospitals can call at any time and arrange for the transfer of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases to facilities that can provide a more appropriate level of care. ArMA worked closely with ADHS to staff this initiative. ADHS is also seeking critical care and palliative care physicians who would be willing to volunteer their time for this initiative. Click here to read the full news release from ADHS or click here to go directly to the Arizona Surge Line website for more information.
On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, the Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona (MICA) declared a $12 Million dividend to assist policyholders through the COVID-19 pandemic. This dividend will be distributed to all policyholders in force as of April 30,
2020. The dividend will be accredited to policyholders on June 1, 2020. Learn more about MICA by clicking here.
On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, Governor Ducey announced that the state would be partnering with the University of Arizona to create hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 antibody tests, primarily for the purpose of testing health care professionals and
first responders. For more on these actions and other news from the Governor's Office,
visit Governor Ducey's newsroom.
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Governor Ducey and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced the statewide closure of Arizona schools from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020. These closures have since been extended through the end of the school year.
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Governor Ducey declared a public health emergency in Arizona just hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak had escalated into a global pandemic.
Read more about Governor Ducey's comprehensive declaration and executive order.
Medicare & other carriers can waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing-related services when the -CS Modifier is used. This applies to in-office visits resulting in the order or administration of a test, or an evaluation of the need for a test. Click here to learn more.
Click here formore information regarding coding and billing relevant to COVID-19.
Mask and isolate suspected COVID-19 patients or other patients presenting with acute respiratory illness. It is not necessary to place a suspect patient in an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR). A private room with a closed-door is acceptable, although using an AIIR for aerosol-generating procedures is still recommended.
Use gowns, gloves, respirators (such as an N95 mask) and eye protection (goggles or face shield) when performing aerosol-generating procedures (e.g., tracheal intubation, non-invasive ventilation, tracheostomy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, manual ventilation before intubation, bronchoscopy).
Obtain travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness.
Consider testing for seasonal respiratory illness, like influenza.
Coordinate with your local health department for specimen collection, transport, and testing for suspected cases.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Arizona aimed at helping small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Individual businesses can be eligible for up to $2 million through the program. According to the SBA, the loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other expenses impacted by COVID-19. The funding for some of these loans had temporarily dried up but it looks like the money has been replenished thanks to Congressional action.
To learn more about the current availability of these loans and other means of assistance for small businesses & practices impacted by COVID-19, visit the Arizona Small Business Association's COVID-19 resources website and the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance website.
Do you have questions about government-funded reimbursement for the coverage of uninsured individuals receiving COVID-19 related services? The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has created a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers to help address any of your remaining concerns. Health care providers who have conducted COVID-19 testing of uninsured individuals, or provided treatment to uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis on or after February 4, 2020, can request claims reimbursement electronically and will be reimbursed generally at Medicare rates, subject to available funding. Funding for this reimbursement program is being drawn from both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Provider Relief Fund.
Click here to read the FAQs and learn more about eligibility, compliance, and the payment process for the program.
Stay tuned for information regarding our next virtual town hall, taking place on June 17.
Are you a physician interested in volunteering during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? ADHS needs emergency response volunteers to call upon during this time of need. The knowledge and skills you have can help make a meaningful difference during these times.
ArMA continues to remain in constant contact with the state's top health care decisionmakers, from the Governor's office to ADHS. ArMA played a central role in Governor Ducey's Executive Orders on telemedicine coverage, malpractice liability reform, elective surgeries, and more.
Check back in the coming weeks as we share more of our advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels! For more detailed information on ArMA advocacy, feel free to contact Jon Amores at email@example.com or Meghan McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also read the AMA's summary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known at the CARES Act, by clicking here.
Resources from Maricopa County:
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has gathered a variety of resources for health care providers in Arizona's largest county to utilize during this uncertain time. For resources tailored to providers, including weekly MCDPH webinars, click here.
It is ArMA’s mission to promote and provide leadership in the art and science of medicine; to preserve and improve the health of all Arizonans; to represent Arizona physicians in the public forum; and to defend Arizona physicians’ freedom and ability to practice medicine in the best interests of your patients.