COVID-19 Resources

i Mar 30th No Comments by

Additional updates, resources and information will be added to this page as they become available

With the growing COVID-19 concern brewing around us, here are some rural-relevant resources that might be helpful.

CMS has updated their Current Emergencies landing page to be a one-stop shop for Medicare and Medicaid related COVID-19 information. The number and frequency of testing for the virus will increase exponentially in coming days. With that, the inevitable spike in positive results may catch some providers unaware. That being said, a big question and major concern for providers is the process of payment for services rendered.

CMS has issued several guidance announcements and “special” announcements in the last few weeks dealing with this and many other potential challenges our providers may face. All of these documents are housed on the Current Emergencies web page.

Several additional resources – from assistance with supply chain to potential payroll tax reductions – are being introduced every day. Sometimes more than once a day. Keep an eye out to pertinent information that might be relevant to providers and stakeholders in your state.

On Friday, March 13, CMS issued this press release previewing guidance found in this COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Health Care Providers Fact Sheet. Regarding Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) the Fact Sheet states: CMS is waiving the requirements that Critical Access Hospitals limit the number of beds to 25, and that the length of stay be limited to 96 hours.

In addition, a press release and a Memorandum were released regarding New Measures to Protect Nursing Home Residents. Find the press release here and Memorandum Ref: QSO-20-14-NH here.

Finally, if you are contacted by providers searching for COVID-19 resources, our friends at the University of Washington have developed and shared a public UW COVID-19 Public Resource Site containing screening and testing algorithms as well as policy templates. It also provides a few other links of interest at the bottom of the page. There is a note on the page that states all of the documents living on the site may be accessed by the public. Thanks so much to our UW friends for sharing! You’ll see more examples of state-specific resources in the tips below.

What’s going on in your state? How will your office keep up with the constant influx of information?

  • Commit time and talent to the cause – This tip is at the heart of developing strategy to increase any technical capacity – especially when the topic is fluid like COVID-19. Numbers and information change rapidly.
    • Find an office champion(s). Someone to lead the charge and keep everyone focused, informed and honest. This may be the point person for incoming information referenced above.
    • Dedicate time during team “gatherings” to continuously build knowledge and skills. These team gatherings may be virtual or in some other creative form.

How will your SORH disseminate pertinent information to the team, rural providers and/or stakeholders?

  • Integrate knowledge gained throughout SORH work – how can you build this information into the everyday workflow of the office? Having a “lunch and learn” or a short mini-education session during a team meeting might be a simple way to introduce available resources, update state-specific efforts or increase SORH overall knowledge. Keeping on top of information as it is made available is imperative but might seem daunting. Stick with a few, trusted sources of information such as the CDC, WHO, your state HHS officials, etc.

We recognize rural providers may be hit hard, if trends hold. It appears those most susceptible to the virus are older, those with compromised immune systems as well as those with respiratory vulnerability (COPD, Asthma, history of smoking, etc.). Sound familiar? I would venture to say this could be the patient profile for the majority of those our rural providers serve.

How might SORH work with sister-agencies to help facilitate potential bottlenecks and/or obstacles that may impede care in rural communities?

  • Share knowledge gained at every opportunity. As a SORH, this is a given. We naturally share what we know and what we have.Items for consideration using the Power of Rural tenets:
  • Educate – Yourself and others about current status updates, resources and programs available both in your state and nationally. Refer to the CDC website and the WHO website for the most up to date information. The HRSA website Health Center Program landing page also has relative information. Although most major health insurance payers have committed to provide COVID-19 testing at no charge to beneficiaries, there may still be other costs associated with identification, diagnosis and treatment of the virus (click here for additional information). Information on coverages should be forthcoming but SORH may consider facilitating that conversation, especially with Hospitals and major payers within the state. There is also word of special considerations with Medicare Advantage Plans. At the time of this writing, details are still in flux. Once there is clarity around coverages, that information should be shared with all provider types. For global statistics, check out this web site created by Avi Schiffmann, a 17-year-old from Mercer Island (which is outside Seattle), who started the site in late December, when coronavirus was undetected outside of China. For additional information, click here for Avi’s story.
  • Communicate/Collaborate – The more you know, the more you are able to share factual information that encourages preparation and assuages panic. At every opportunity share what you know to encourage partners and stakeholders to focus on preparation without panic. Be the calm in the chaos to establish your SORH as THE trusted advisory during uncertain events.
  • Innovate – The circumstances around COVID-19 are flush with innovative opportunities. This novel virus has already resulted in CMS adding a new ICD-10 code and interim coding guidance for coding and billing. New and revised processes may become more commonplace as the virus lifespan progresses.

At the end of the day, no one expects any one person to know it all; especially in highly fluid situations, however, we do have to know how to figure it out. We have the responsibility to spread knowledge gained and encourage team members and stakeholders alike to continue learning.

We are about preparation not panic. And don’t forget to wash your hands!


The following are resources, guidance and information by category.  Items will be added to this page as they become available.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):

CMS – Requesting an 1135 Waiver (Updated 11.16.2016)

1135 Waiver- At A Glance Overview

CMS – Press Release APPROVED 1135 WAIVERS BY STATE 3-23-2020

CMS – MLN SPECIAL EDITION – se20011 – 3-16-2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Partner Toolkit _ CMS 3-17-2020

CMS – PACE Guidance Issued Press Release Email 3-17-2020

CMS – FAQs – COVID-19 Provider Enrollment (Medicare) 3-22-2020

CMS – POST ACUTE CARE QUALITY REPORTING Relief for Clinicians Providers Hospitals & Facilities 3-23-2020

CMS – Press Release – CHECKLISTS to Help Speed States’ Access to Emergency Flexibilities & Resources 3-23-2020

CMS – COVID-19 – Press Release – US Senate Committee on Finance – Rural Resources in CARES Act 3-27-2020

CMS – COVID-19 – Press Release Email re Trump Administration Provides Financial Relief for Medicare Providers 3-28-20

CMS – COVID-19 – Press Release Trump Admin Provides Financial Relief for Medicare Providers 3-29-2020







CMS – 3.17.20 COVID 19 Telehealth Waiver FAQ Final 3-17-2020

ASTHO – Telehealth-brief 3-20-2020

CMS – Email Telehealth Toolkit for Gen Pract & ESRD Providers 3-23-2020

CMS – TOOLKIT GENERAL PROVIDER Telemedicine 3-23-2020



Partner Resources:

SHRT PROGRAM – Revenue Cycle Crisis Management_ Corona.. 3-18-2020

CDC – Coronavirus Website

NNOHA – COVID-19 Oral Health Listening Sessions, sign-up now! 3-18-2020

HRSA – OFAM FAQa for Grant Related COVID-19 Questions 3-24-2020





SORH Resource Web Pages:

South Carolina Office of Rural Health:


Categories: NOSORH News


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