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2019 Novel Coronavirus Medicaid News

COVID-19: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, State of Alaska
DHSS is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. Learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please check back frequently for new information and important updates.

Alaska Medicaid and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
 


June 30, 2020


June 11, 2020

    Nursing Homes Are Prohibited from Seizing Residents’ COVID-19 Stimulus Payment
    Most nursing facility residents are eligible up to $1,200 stimulus payments under the CARES Act. These funds belong to the residents; seizure by nursing facilities is prohibited. Following reports of nursing facilities wrongly requiring residents to relinquish their stimulus payments, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced that those who engage in this behavior “will be subject to [federal] enforcement action.

    Under state and federal Medicaid regulations, the stimulus payment is not counted as income for residents who are Medicaid eligible. Therefore, receipt of a stimulus payment does not affect eligibility, nor does it change a resident’s monthly cost of care (the amount a Medicaid recipient must pay toward the cost of their long-term care).


June 9, 2020


May 21, 2020


May 20, 2020

    COVID-10 Testing Update
      The following COVID-19 testing codes are now covered by Alaska Medicaid:
      • U0001 – COVID-testing by CDC testing lab ($35.91)
      • U0002 – COVID-19 testing by non-CDC lab ($51.31)
      • U0003 – Infect agent detection by nucleic acid ($100)ARS-CoV-2 ($100)
      • U0004 – 2019-nCoV Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 ($100)
      • 87635 – SARS-CoV Coronavirus ($51.31)
      Do not use 87631-87633 for COVID-19 testing. Questions? Contact Sherri LaRue at sherri.larue@alaska.gov or 907.334.2656.


    May 14, 2020


    Pharmacy Update – May 2020
    The Alaska Medicaid Pharmacy Program May 2020 Update is now available on the Provider Updates page. Included are details about the Alaska Medicaid Disaster Relief State Plan Amendment



    May 7, 2020


    Alaska Responders Relief Line – (844) 985-8275
    Recognizing the unique stressors that providers face, the Division of Behavioral Health has established a 24/7 support line, (844) 985-8275, for healthcare and behavioral professionals impacted by COVID personally and professionally. Staff supporting the call line recognize callers are often first responders and will allows callers to openly express their experiences and feelings serving Alaskans impacted by COVID. This service is also available to immediate family members of first responders who may be experiencing stress, anxiety and other hard to label emotions as a result of their loved one engaging on the front lines.


    May 1, 2020


    Interim Guidance on SARS-CoV-2 Testing for Asymptomatic Residents Being Admitted to Congregate Living Facilities
    The Division of Public Health’s Section of Epidemiology released guidance for administrators and health care providers affiliated with congregate living facilities (e.g., skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, residential treatment facilities) that serve persons who typically remain at the facility for a sustained period of at least 14 days.

    April 30, 2020


    Resumption of Pre-COVID-19 Dental Coverage
    Effective 05/04/2020, Alaska Medicaid will resume coverage for non-urgent/non-emergent dental services under the SFY2020 Dental Services fee schedule. Providers are expected to adhere to Governor Dunleavy’s Health Mandate 015: Services by Health Care Providers and follow ADA and CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Provider questions? Contact Provider Inquiry at (907) 644-6800, option 1, 1 or toll-free in Alaska at (800) 770-5650, option 1, 1, 1.


    April 24, 2020


    Revised New Travel Authorization Requirements
    Medicaid travel must comply with Governor Dunleavy's Health Mandate 015: Services by Health Care Providers. Travel will be authorized based on standard travel criteria, medical necessity, and the recommendation from the receiving provider that the travel needs to occur now and should not be delayed.

    All travel authorization requests must include a letter of medical necessity (LOMN). In addition to the standard LOMN criteria, the LOMN must include the following:
    Can the service(s) be provided via telehealth? If no, why not?
    Has the medical provider reviewed the risks of traveling during this time?
    Does the member understand these risks?
    Does the member understand they may be responsible for their own lodging and meals for travel extensions unrelated to the member’s medical needs?

    Questions? Please contact Provider Inquiry at (907) 644-6800, option 1, 1 or toll-free in Alaska at 800-770-5650, option 1, 1, 1.

    Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telehealth Coverage: Updated FAQs
    Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telehealth Coverage FAQs has been updated with new questions submitted by providers.


    April 15, 2020


    COVID-19 Testing Update
    Effective immediately, Alaska Medicaid requires enrolled providers to use only the following two codes when submitting a claim for COVID-19 testing:
    • U0001 – COVID-testing by CDC testing lab ($35.91)
    • U0002 – COVID-19 testing by non-CDC lab ($51.31)
    Guidance regarding U0003 and U0004 will be released at a later date.
    Do not use 87631 - 87633 for COVID-19 testing, and 87635 is not a covered service.


    April 14, 2020


    Telehealth Training
    During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Alaska Medicaid expanded the availability of services that can be provided via telehealth. Instructor-led training webinars addressing covered telehealth services and how to bill for those services are scheduled beginning on 04/16/2020 as one hour sessions. Each session will contain the same material and providers are asked to attend only once. For a full schedule of available training sessions, refer to the Temporary Expansion of Telehealth Services flyer available on the Alaska Medicaid Learning Portal.


    April 13, 2020


    New Medicaid Travel Authorization Requirements
    In compliance with Governor Dunleavy's Health Mandate 5.1: Elective Procedures, effective 04/10/2020, all Medicaid travel authorizations require medical justification and specified written documentation. Complete requirements are detailed in the 04/10/2020 notice,New Travel Authorization Requirements.

    Medicaid Home Health: Temporary Suspension of Supervisory Visit Regulations
    Under the authority of Governor Dunleavy’s COVID-19 Disaster Order of Suspension No. 2, the onsite supervision requirements in the following regulations are suspended effective 04/09/2020 to allow home health supervisory visits to be conducted via telephone or video conferencing. This temporary suspension may be rescinded at any time, upon notification by the department. 7 AAC 12.517(a)(13) – nursing staff; 7 AAC 12.519(d) – home health aide; 7 AAC 12.521(a)(6) – physical therapy assistant; 7 AAC 12.521(b)(6) – occupational therapy assistant

    Behavioral Health Guidance
    COVID-19-related telehealth and other guidance is now available for behavioral health providers.


    April 9, 2020


    Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telehealth Coverage: FAQs
    Responses to provider questions regarding temporary expansion of Medicaid telehealth coverage are available on the Provider Updates page.

    Temporary Dental Coverage Limits During COVID-19 Emergency
    Effective April 8, 2020, and in compliance with Governor Dunleavy’s Health Mandate 006: Elective Oral Health Procedures, the Department of Health and Social Services implemented temporary changes to Medicaid coverage of dental services. The new list of covered dental codes and other requirements are included in the April 7, 2020 Temporary Dental Coverage Limits During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency notice.

    Temporary Telehealth Services Fee Schedule
    A temporary Alaska Medicaid Telehealth Services Fee Schedule, effective 03/20/2020, is now available on the Alaska Medicaid Fee Schedules page.

    Hospital and LTC Alternate Care Sites/Additional Beds During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
    Hospitals and long term care (LTC) facilities may apply to temporarily increase bed numbers or provide care and services at alternate care sites. This process applies to both tribal and non-tribal facilities as an emergency action to maintain an accurate record of available beds, statewide. Visit Health Facilities Licensing and Certification for more information and to access the Hospital/LTC Emergency Licensure Application.

    April 8, 2020


    Update to Health Mandate 005: Elective Procedures
    On April 7, 2020 Governor Dunleavy issued an update to Health Mandate 005: Elective Medical Procedures. Health Mandate 5.1: Elective Procedures and Attachment C, Non-Urgent or Elective Procedures and Surgeries further limit procedures that may be performed during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Mandate 5.1 remains in effect until June 15, 2020.


    Home Health: Temporary Suspension of Supervisory Visit Regulations
    Under the authority of Governor Dunleavy’s COVID-19 Disaster Order of Suspension No. 2, the onsite supervision requirements in the following regulations are suspended effective 04/09/2020 to allow home health supervisory visits to be conducted via telephone or video conferencing. This temporary suspension may be rescinded at any time, upon notification by the department.

    April 3, 2020


    Medicaid 1135 Waiver Status
    On 04/02/2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved, in part, the Department of Health and Social Services’ (DHSS) Medicaid 1135 Waiver request. DHSS will implement approved waiver provisions on an as needed basis, and will notify providers of the effective date of each change. Until DHSS notification is issued, services provided under waiver provisions will not be covered. Because RA messages are issued weekly, and changes are occurring on a daily basis, notices will be published on the Alaska Medicaid Health Enterprise home page as approved waivers are implemented.

    Alaska Medicaid Pharmacy Update #3
    Alaska Medicaid has released updated pharmacy guidelines to assist provider with navigating through the challenges related to COVID-19. Questions? Please contact Chuck Semling at charles.semling@alaska.gov or (907) 334-2458.

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    Effective April 3, 2020, Conduent (Alaska Medicaid’s fiscal agent) offices will be closed to any outside visitors or documentation drop-offs. Providers may continue to mail or electronically submit any documentation necessary to conduct Alaska Medicaid business. Documents may be mailed to the following address:

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    P.O. Box 240769
    Anchorage, AK 99524-0769

    Providers may schedule one-on-one meetings via telephone or web conferencing through Provider Inquiry at (907) 644-6800, option 1, 1 or toll-free in Alaska at 800-770-5650, option 1, 1, 1.

    Revised Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telehealth Coverage
    Alaska Medicaid has issued a revised temporary expansion of telehealth coverage guidelines, effective immediately. The 03/30/2020 Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telehealth Coverage, version 2, document is available on the Provider Updates page. Questions? Please contact Carrie Silvers at carrie.silvers@alaska.gov or (907) 269-4576

    March 30, 2020


    Medicaid 1135 Waiver Request
    On 03/27/2020, the Dept. of Health and Social Services (DHSS) submitted a Medicaid 1135 Waiver Request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Waivers were requested to address all possible scenarios. Not all requested waiver provisions will be approved at the same time, and some may not be approved.

    DHSS will implement approved waiver provisions on an as needed basis, and will notify providers of the effective date of each change. Because RA messages are issued weekly, and changes are occurring on a daily basis, notices will be published on the Provider Updates page as approved waivers are implemented.


    Revised Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telemedicine Coverage
    Alaska Medicaid has issued a Revised Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telemedicine Coverage Guidelines, version 2, effective immediately. Questions? Contact Carrie Silvers at carrie.silvers@alaska.gov or (907) 269-4576.


    March 27, 2020


    Alaska Medicaid Pharmacy Update #2
    Alaska Medicaid have updated their pharmacy guidelines to assist provider with navigating through the callenges related to COVID-19. Questions? Please contact Chuck Semling at charles.semling@alaska.gov or (907) 334-2458.


    March 23, 2020


Temporary Expansion of Medicaid Telemedicine Coverage
Alaska Medicaid has issued a temporary expansion of telemedicine coverage guidelines, effective immediately. Questions? Please contact Carrie Silvers at carrie.silvers@alaska.gov or (907) 269-4576.

DMEPOS Temporary Guidelines
Alaska Medicaid has issued temporary guidelines regarding service authorizations, quantity limits, and shipping/delivery of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies. Questions? Please contact Karen Benson at karen.benson@alaska.gov.

Health Mandate 006: Elective Oral Health Procedures Restrictions
On March 19, 2020 Governor Dunleavy issued Health Mandate 006: Elective Oral Health Procedures, in concurrence with recommendations from the American Dental Association, requiring all non-urgent dental procedures to be postponed for one month. The mandate includes recommended actions and resources for practitioners.

Alaska Medicaid Pharmacy Update #1
Alaska Medicaid has issued pharmacy guidelines to assist providers with navigating through the challenges related to COVID-19. Questions? Please contact Chuck Semling at charles.semling@alaska.gov or (907) 334-2458.

March 19, 2020


Oral Health Restrictions

Governor Dunleavy issued Health Mandate 006: Elective Oral Health Procedures, in concurrence with recommendations from the American Dental Association, requiring all non-urgent dental procedures to be postponed for one month. The mandate includes recommended actions and resources for practitioners If you are affected by this mandate and have questions or concerns, contact your provider to discuss your options.

DHCS Temporarily Closed to Visitors
As a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the Division of Health Care Services, 4501 Business Park Blvd., Building L, is temporarily closed to visitors to protect the health and safety of those we serve and staff who provide those services. If you need to:
  • Drop off fingerprints or documents, use the lock box next door in front of Building K. The lock box is monitored and checked throughout the day.
  • Make a credit card payment, call (907) 334-2400
  • Ask a question or speak with a staff member, call (907) 334-2400

March 18, 2020


Aetna Offers Referral Service for Non-Members
Aetna has graciously extended its Resources for Living program to non-Aetna members during the COVID-19 outbreak, similar to what they provided during the earthquake. Anyone can call Aetna to speak with a consultant who can assist with referrals to local resources.

To access this service, call (888) 327-2386 if you are not an Aetna beneficiary; if you are currently an Aetna member, call the telephone number on the back of your card.


March 17, 2020


Medicaid Travel Restrictions

The Alaska Medicaid program is limiting Medicaid-approved travel to only those services that cannot be postponed for 3 months (e.g., facility discharges, emergency ambulance transports, acute psychiatric events, urgent surgery). Please contact your medical provider if you have any questions or concerns.


March 16, 2020


Non-Urgent and Elective Procedures
The Alaska State Chief Medical Officer issued an advisory requesting that all hospitals and surgical facilities in Alaska to postpone non-urgent and elective procedures for three months. Medicaid providers are asked to postpone all non-urgent or elective procedures for three months to decrease the overall impact of COVID-19 on Alaska’s health care system. Other states are taking similar action. If you are affected by this you should contact your provider to discuss your options.

Alaska Medicaid providers and are encouraged to closely monitor this and all guidelines issued by the State’s Chief Medical Officer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).