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Archive for March, 2020

The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services and Supplies (MAMES), National Coalition for Assistive & Rehab Technology (NCART), and VGM Group is writing to request that the state Medicaid Agency and any Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO) make certain accommodations regarding the provision of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS), and home infusion therapy, to enable DMEPOS suppliers to assist patients during the COVID-19 emergency.

MAMES is the regional association representing DMEPOS suppliers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders in the homecare community of Minnesota and 7 other states in the Midwest: IA, KS, MO, NE, ND, SD and WI. Our members are in patients’ homes every day and are uniquely qualified to be able to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DME providers serve millions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in their homes; and that number continues to grow significantly with the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Our members supply home oxygen therapy, ventilator services, and many other necessary items and services that allow patients to be released from hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities to complete their recovery.

The current COVID-19 outbreak presents many challenges to our health care system with Hospitals needing to be discharging increased numbers of patients into their homes to prevent exposure and to free up resources and hospital beds. This is putting a strain on the provision of DME Items and services, particularly for suppliers of DMEPOS providers.

There are a number of “red tape” issues that can be alleviated today, to ensure that patients with acute conditions can access medically necessary home ventilator and home oxygen therapy, and other DMEPOS items and services. Listed below are recommendations which will allow the DMEPOS industry to focus on current emergency patient situations.

MAMES learned that DHS submitted an 1135 waiver to CMS for flexibility to respond to COVID-19 on March 25, 2020. Read more

Can You Exercise with a Cold?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 @ 07:03 AM  posted by jbuytaert

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Courtesy of the American Lung Association

Staying fit is always a good idea. But is it a good idea or even safe to exercise when you have a cold? If so, what type of exercise is recommended and what precautions should you take? Before you hit the gym or unroll your yoga mat with a case of the sniffles, let’s see what the experts say.

As a general guide, mild to moderate physical activity is usually fine if you have a common cold. Symptoms of a common cold include a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat.  If you have a cold, you should consider reducing the intensity or length of your exercise. For example, instead of going for a run, take a walk.

For more, advice, we spoke to Traci Gonzales, nurse practitioner at UTHealth in Houston and American Lung Association volunteer spokesperson.

“When it comes to working out with a cold, it’s important to listen to your body. If you have what are considered common cold symptoms like runny nose, congestion and sore throat, then a workout may not be a bad idea if you feel up to it. Although, scaling it back a bit might be helpful,” said Gonzales. ”Many say they feel better after working out and notice improvement in symptoms such as congestion. However, make sure you are well hydrated. If you are dehydrated, symptoms could intensify when working out.” Read more

Can you detox your lungs?

Monday, March 23, 2020 @ 08:03 AM  posted by jbuytaert

Courtesy of the American Lung Association

In recent years, natural remedies and “detoxification” diets have gained popularity as a quick and trendy way to eliminate toxins from your body. While some products are marketed to aid in overnight weight loss, improved digestion or enhanced energy levels, others claim to reverse years of damage to organs such as your lungs.

With a quick internet search you can find countless products that allegedly cleanse your lungs in a matter of days or less. A variety of pills, vitamins, teas, oils, salt inhalers and masks are just a few types of items marketed as a cure-all for lung damage such as that caused by smoking. But do these products really work?

When it comes to lung health the best general rule to follow is: don’t trust quick fixes.

While detox remedies seem like a great concept, unfortunately, many claims made by companies selling dangerous and unproven treatments are exaggerated and can even be harmful, particularly products that can be inhaled.

“There are some aerosolized products (or vapes) that contain ‘essential oils’ which are promoted as being healthy but inhaling any kind of oil or other lipid [oils] can be dangerous,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, Senior Scientific Advisor to the American Lung Association. Read more

To view this MLN Matters article, please click on the link below or paste it into your Internet browser:

Please note, the article was revised on 3/18/20 to include information about the Teleheath wavier.

ICD-10-CM Interim Coding Guidance for COVID-19 (February 20, 2020)

Courtesy of the CDC


The purpose of this document is to provide official diagnosis coding guidance for health care encounters and deaths related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) previously named 2019-nCoV.

The COVID-19 caused an outbreak of respiratory illness, and was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since then, thousands of cases have been confirmed in China, and COVID-19 has also spread internationally, including in the United States. Investigations are ongoing. The most recent situation updates are available from the CDC web page, About 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The confirmed COVID-19 infections can cause a range of illness, from little to no symptoms, to those affected being severely ill and even dying. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure, based on the incubation period for other coronaviruses, such as the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) viruses.

This guidance is intended to be used in conjunction with the current ICD-10-CM classification and the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting (effective October 1, 2019) and will be updated to reflect new clinical information as it becomes available.

The ICD-10-CM codes provided in this document are intended to provide information on the coding of encounters related to coronavirus. Other codes for conditions unrelated to coronavirus may be required to fully code these scenarios in accordance with the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting. A hyphen is used at the end of a code to indicate that additional characters are required. Read more