Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Coronavirus Update: March 24, 2020 APTA joins effort for stepped up NPE response by Congress; new template letter for telehealth; wound care considered "essential," and more. Practice Guidance March 24: APTA Joins Push for PPE, More Consistent Recommendations for Use A letter endorsed by 19 health care professional organizations not only urges Congress to step up efforts to supply providers with PPE, but to get CDC and other agencies on the same science-based page, and to take steps to ensure that shortages won't happen again. "We need proper support to care for patients safely and effectively," the letter states. "This includes clear, evidence-based protocols and highest level of protection in order to care for infected individuals as well as prevent the spread of the coronavirus in health care facilities and the community. Congress and the Administration must exhaust every option available to increase PPE production and prioritize distribution to frontline providers and health care facilities." March 24: New Coalition Connects Health Care Organizations With PPE Suppliers The PPE Coalition and the US Digital Response Team are collaborating on Project N95, connecting personal protective equipment manufacturers with state and local governments and health care providers and institutions who submit a request. According to their website, they hope to have millions of units available for distribution within the coming weeks. March 24: APTA Offers Template Letter to CMS Advocating for Telehealth for PTs, PTAs APTA has developed a template letter for you to use in advocating to CMS for Medicare coverage of telehealth furnished by PTs and PTAs to ensure that patients continue to have access to the rehabilitative care they need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instructions are included at the top of the letter. March 24: Multiprofessional Group Including APTA Says Wound Care Is an Essential Activity The Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders, a group that includes APTA, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Amputee Coalition, and others, issued a statement countering hospital decisions to shut down outpatient-based wound care departments as "non-essential" during the coronavirus pandemic. "Nonhealing wounds, left untreated and unmanaged, can result in significant medical issues including infection, sepsis, the need for limb amputation, and even death," according to the statement. "As a result many procedures provided by wound clinics are essential — not elective — to protect the health of patients and prevent an escalation of their disease." From the CDC March 23: CDC Study on Cruise Ship COVID Transmissions Finds Virus Present on Surfaces 17 Days After Last Contact Testing on the Diamond Princess, the Grand Princess, and other ships found SARS-CoV-2 present on some surfaces after passengers — some asymptomatic — had vacated the ship 17 days earlier. From CMS March 23: CMS Approves Medicaid Waivers in 11 States Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia have received section 1135 waivers on a range of requirements including prior authorization, provider enrollment, public notice mandates, and fair hearing request timelines. In the Media Health Care, Tech, Nonprofits Collaborate in COVID-19 Response A group of high-tech firms, large health care systems, nonprofits, and others are partnering to utilize data analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of community mitigation efforts, identify at-risk populations who need diagnostic testing, and optimize health care delivery and supply chain operations. Visit APTA's Coronavirus webpage for more information and updates.