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August 5, 2020

IN THIS ISSUE / August 5, 2020

COVID-19 and employed physicians: Contracts, furloughs, and termination

In the second part of this two-part series for employed physicians, Derm World takes a look at considerations for employees when aspects of their contracts have been lawfully changed by their employers as a result of COVID-19. Dermatology practices that serve as employers will also find the guidance below useful as they consider the possible need to cut hours, cut pay, and/or lay off physician staff. Read more.

Related content:

DW Insights and Inquiries: Unmasking the complications of personal protective equipment

Allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis have long been identified as potential adverse reactions to personal protective equipment (PPE) most commonly due to gloves. The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has heightened the need to use PPE as a safety precaution, highlighting the problems associated with infection-prevention measures, most notably masks and gloves. With increased usage and prolonged wearing of masks and gloves, the incidence of cutaneous problems related to PPE has been increasing. (1,2) Two studies done via questionnaire in China have shown that the prevalence of skin damage to frontline health care workers during the COVID crisis was 74-97%. Keep reading!

AAD-NPF release psoriasis guidelines on topical treatments

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) developed the Guidelines of Care for the Management and Treatment of Psoriasis with Topical Therapy and Alternative Medicine Modalities for Psoriasis Severity Measures. With August kicking off Psoriasis Awareness Month, review the latest research of care available on the disease. Read the guidelines.

Participate in MIPS cost measure field testing

CMS and its contractor, Acumen, LLC, will conduct field testing Aug. 17 – Sept. 18 for five episode-based cost measures before consideration of their potential use in the ‘cost’ performance category of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Cost is one of the four MIPS performance categories. CMS will test episode-based cost measures, which are used to gauge the total cost of care for a condition and related services during the performance year. Among the measures being tested is a melanoma cost measure developed with input from the AADA. These measures were developed with input from various specialty societies and other clinician groups.

Why is it important to participate? Field testing is an opportunity for physicians and other stakeholders to provide feedback on the draft measure specifications of the cost measures. Feedback shared on these draft specifications will be used to consider potential measure refinements following field testing.

Who is qualified to participate? During field testing, physicians and practices who were attributed 10 or more episodes from at least one of the cost measures during the 2019 measurement period will receive a report with information about their cost performance. Qualified providers can also access the report on the QPP website. Dermatologists who meet the 10-episode threshold may volunteer to provide feedback on the resources associated with the measure. Responses will be used to help validate the costs associated with melanoma care.

View the CMS 2020 Cost Measures Field Testing Fact Sheet for more information.

Keeping the frontline workers safe

DW Weekly talks with Iltefat Hamzavi, MD, a dermatologist at Henry Ford Health System, about his discovery of a new way of sanitizing personal protective equipment to help keep COVID-19 frontline providers safe.

DW Weekly: What motivated you to try to find a solution to the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage?

Dr. Hamzavi: At Henry Ford we have a very highly regarded photomedicine unit, and when the pandemic started, we wanted to see what we could do to help. My sister-in-law had to intubate someone without a N95 mask, and at that point they were rationing PPE in major cities with developing outbreaks.

DW Weekly: How does the sanitation process work? Read more.

HHS extends CARES Act Provider Relief Fund application deadline to Aug. 28

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it is extending the application deadline for the Phase 2 general distribution of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to certain Medicare physicians who experienced challenges in the Phase 1 Medicare General Distribution application period. Providers have from Aug. 10-28, 2020, to apply.

Additionally, some physicians or practices that experienced a change in ownership in 2020 missed out on relief fund payments, as the payments were distributed to the previous owners. Those physicians/practices may now submit their revenue information and documentation of the ownership change starting Aug. 10-28, 2020, for consideration of Provider Relief Fund payments. Read more about the extended application deadline.

Submit nominations for the 2021 Academy election

Nominations for Officers, Directors, and Nominating Committee Member Representatives (East Region) are now being accepted through Oct. 1. To view reference materials and submit a nomination and letter of support, visit www.aad.org/aadnominations or email callfornominations@aad.org.