Get the latest COVID-19 Updates for osteopathic physicians | View the status of AOA meetings & certification exams

Practicing Medicine Providing Care COVID-19

COVID-19

COVID-19 updates

Supporting osteopathic physicians on the frontlines

Get the latest tools, news and updates to help you navigate the global pandemic.

As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread domestically and abroad, the AOA’s top priority remains supporting the needs of the nation’s 151,000 osteopathic physicians and medical students. We have assembled the following resources to help you navigate the global health crisis—whether you are caring for patients as a frontline provider or supporting in other ways. This page will be regularly updated as new information and resources become available in the days ahead.

Scheduled to attend an AOA meeting or event?

All AOA events are being evaluated on a case by case basis in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health agencies. Check event status.



Latest updates

Upcoming Webinars

Navigating Telemedicine & HIPAA during COVID-19

Monday, April 6 @ 7 p.m. CST
1 AOA category 2B credit
Register now

Get Paid for Telehealth: New Rules for Documentation & Technology

Tuesday, April 7 @ 7 p.m. CST
1 AOA category 2B credit
Register now

Billing & Coding Under New Telehealth Rules

Thursday, April 9 @ 7 p.m. CST
1 AOA category 2B credit
Register now

Affiliate advocacy opportunities & resources

Please look over this list of advocacy opportunities and resources to help facilitate care for patients with substance use disorder, chronic pain, or mental Illness during COVID-19.

COVID-19 Information Hub and Insurance Guide for physicians

Physician offices have unique insurance needs, especially during a pandemic. AOA Insurance, powered by Gallagher, has assembled two resources. The COVID-19 Information Hub provides updates on business and human resources coverage. In addition, Gallagher has pulled together insurance information specifically for physicians.

Exclusive opportunity for AOA members: New patient safety card that leverages QR technology

The AOA is proud to announce an exclusive joint patient safety initiative with The Broselow Institute to introduce Emergency and Telemedicine Safety Cards to our members and their patients at no cost. The cards, which leverage patented barcode technology, provide an innovative way to support patient safety during acute transitions of care and with telemedicine visits. Learn more.

New e-Learning CME on OMM techniques that provide relief for COVID-19

We are excited to partner with the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) to offer an online learning activity to help you review applicable OMM techniques for optimizing pulmonary function in COVID-19 or suspected  COVID-19 patients.  The e-Learning module, titled, “Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Techniques Addressing Respiratory Symptoms of COVID-19” will provide a refresher in applicable OMM techniques. Free for all members and non-members, the patient-centered CME will offer 1.0 AOA 1-B credit or 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Learn more and enroll today.

Telemedicine webinars from the AOA

Get up to speed on telehealth best practices, privacy issues, and reimbursement with a series of webinars next week.  Presented by AOIA in partnership with the AOA, all webinars are free and begin at 7 p.m. CT. Optional AOA Category 2-B CME is available at no charge to AOA members and $30 for non-members. Visit the AOA Telemedicine Resource Center to get all the tools and resources you need to implement telehealth into your practice.

New COVID-19 ICD-10-CM diagnosis code

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created a new ICD-10-CM diagnosis code (U07.1) for the virus.  Providers should use this new diagnosis code, where appropriate, for discharges on or after April 1, 2020.

In addition, CMS has updated the ICD-10 MS-DRG GROUPER software package to accommodate the new ICD-10-CM diagnosis code currently available on the CMS MS-DRG Classifications and Software webpage. This updated GROUPER software package (V37.1 R1) replaces the GROUPER software package V37.1 that was developed in response to the new ICD-10-CM diagnosis code U07.0 for vaping-related disorders, also effective for discharges on and after April 1, 2020. For detailed information regarding the assignment of new diagnosis code U07.1, COVID-19, under the ICD-10 MS-DRGs, visit the MS-DRG Classifications and Software webpage. The announcement is located under the “Latest News” heading.

For additional Medicare Fee-For-Service information, refer to the updated MLN Matters Articles:

CMS applies extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy for MIPS in response to COVID-19

CMS will automatically identify individual, group and virtual group participants in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program who do not submit their MIPS performance data by the extended April 30th deadline, and apply the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy instead of issuing a negative payment adjustment for the 2021 MIPS payment year.

If you have started the MIPS data submission process, but are now unable to complete it due to the impact of COVID-19, you will have until 8 p.m., ET on April 30, 2020 to complete an application for extreme and uncontrollable circumstances. When completing the application, make sure that you:

  • Select 1/1/2020 and 4/30/2020 as your start and end dates;
  • Indicate that you are unable to complete your 2019 performance year data submission due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Select all four MIPS performance categories for re-weighting

An application citing COVID-19 will override any previous data submission.  If your application is approved, all four MIPS performance categories will be re-weighted and you will receive a neutral payment adjustment for the 2021 payment year.  For more information, please see the Quality Payment Program COVID-19 Response Fact Sheet, or contact the Quality Payment program at (866) 288-8292, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET or by e-mail at: QPP@cms.hhs.gov.

CMS expands telehealth, waivers and new rules to address COVID-19

On March 30th, as part of the ongoing effort to address the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued several additional temporary regulatory waivers and new rules for physicians and other clinicians. At the same time, CMS also released an Interim Final Rule with comment period outlining further changes for Medicare and Medicaid programs. The changes are effective immediately for the duration of the emergency declaration. Learn more about these additional waivers and rules.

CMS national stakeholder calls on COVID-19

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been hosting regular calls with a variety of clinicians, hospitals, other facilities, and states in an effort to keep stakeholders updated on COVID-19 efforts. Since everyone is not available to attend the calls live, you can access recordings and transcripts of the calls on the CMS website.

View your state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration

The President’s emergency and major disaster declarations make states eligible for federal funding, including reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for costs associated with measures taken to save lives and to protect public health and safety. View the full list of state declarations.

Osteopathic medical students may be graduating early to fight COVID-19

The AOA’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), which accredits the nation’s 38 osteopathic medical schools, will allow colleges of osteopathic medicine to offer early graduation to certain medical students in their fourth year to increase the health care workforce fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

What the coronavirus relief plan means for physicians

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Provisions of the act address several issues of importance for physicians and medical students, including financial aid, student loans, financial relief for individuals and small businesses, physician payment and access to care. View a summary of key provisions.

CMS accelerates advance payments for Medicare providers to combat COVID-19

On March 28, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an expansion of its accelerated and advance payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers, to ensure they have the resources needed to combat COVID-19. This program expansion, which includes changes from the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is only for the duration of the public health emergency to minimize financial hardship caused by the disruption in claims submission or claims processing. Learn how to request payment.

FAQ on the impact of COVID-19

The AOA has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received from DOs across the country. Topics include: personal protective equipment (PPE), OMM/OMM, licensing, telemedicine/telehealth, training for students and resident physicians, CME, COVID-19 medical products.

AOA urges Congress to address shortage of PPE for physicians

The AOA continues to implore members of Congress to address the growing shortage of PPE for physicians and the need to provide health care professionals with paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Equipment currently needed are N95 respirators, gowns, surgical masks, eye protection, and intensive care unit (ICU) equipment. Without continuous access to these critical items, safety for both patients and providers will be greatly jeopardized, which could lead to overall worse outcomes and the continual spread of the virus,” the AOA stated in a letter to Congress earlier this week.

Share your story

We know that many of you are caring for patients despite a shortage of safety equipment and other essential supplies, while potentially contending with a lack of sick leave or other financial concerns. It is important to us that we hear directly from our members to help serve you best, and even more important that your members of Congress hear directly from you.

Take action

Through your feedback, we know that COVID-19 is causing stress, shortages in PPE and overloading our public health system. The AOA has activated two grassroots initiatives to increase public pressure on lawmakers. Here’s how you can help:

On-demand CME and learning resource

With all in-person CME conferences cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, many physicians and medical students are looking to on-demand resources for education opportunities. The AOA CME Search provides a searchable listing of on-demand and live CME programs, including education offerings from the AOA and affiliate organizations. Additional on-demand CME programming can be accessed on docme.org.

Officers of the AOA’s Bureau of Emerging Leaders recently compiled a listing of online CME and learning resources for DOs and osteopathic medical students. The list includes COVID-19 education and resources, as well as specialty-focused learning opportunities. View the list on The DO.

Telehealth resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in demand for telehealth services, enabling physicians to provide patients with care in the current era of social distancing. The AOA has created the following resources to help physicians exploring telehealth to navigate the transition.

  • Our Telemedicine section is the go-to source for the latest tools and recommendations.
  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the AOA created a practice guide highlighting telehealth updates to aid physicians with implementation in their practices.
  • An on-demand telemedicine webinar, hosted by AOA and AOIA on March 25, provides best practices and insights from Michael Brown, DO, an osteopathic family physician and telehealth veteran.
  • Looking for information on current telehealth and licensing regulations in your state? View a state-by-state breakdown.

Expedited credentialing and waived licensing requirements

Many states have eased licensing requirements to allow more physicians to help meet the growing healthcare needs of the pandemic. AOA members can send their AOA Profile to all state medical boards at no cost; and non-members only pay a nominal fee. This benefit can enable you to serve in areas of need more quickly through expedited credentialing. Get started.

Consult the Federation of State Medical Boards for a detailed list of states expediting licenses for inactive or retired physicians to return to practice during the pandemic, as well as a list of states temporarily waiving licensure requrements.

Coding and billing

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has adopted the following Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes to use for COVID-19 testing.

  • UOOO1 – 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel should be used when specimens are sent to the CDC and CDC-approved local/state health department laboratories.
  • UOOO2 – 2019-nCoV Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19), any technique, multiple types or subtypes (includes all targets), non-CDC should be used when specimens are sent to commercial laboratories, e.g. Quest or LabCorp, and not to the CDC or CDC-approved local/state health department laboratories.

For more information, visit the CMS website and its recently issued FAQ. To view a more comprehensive list of COVID-19 codes, visit the Aetna website.

Financial relief

The U.S. Small Business Administration has released information about financial relief for small businesses, including private practices.

Federal & state advocacy

The AOA’s advocacy activity related to COVID-19 includes the following:

Board certification

The AOA’s Division of Certifying Board Services (CBS) is communicating directly with certification diplomates and candidates regarding postponement of scheduled board exams and meetings. The AOA’s two national testing providers that administer AOA computer-based board examinations will be closed through the end of April. Information about future exams will be shared as it becomes available. Visit our Event Status page to get the latest details for all scheduled AOA meetings, including board certification exams.

The CBS team is also working to assist program directors with information and updates and will be ready to support residency graduates with expedited board certification once training requirements are met so that delays in board certification are avoided.


The DO: How to do telemedicine in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is ushering in a new era for telehealth. Expert Michael Brown, DO, goes over the new rules and the basics.

Read more

The DO: Nonpracticing DO will rejoin the clinical workforce to battle COVID-19

“There’s a real need to have people come back and help battle this thing,” says Jeff Dunn, DO, MBA.

Read more

Past updates

COVID-19 Updates (Week of April 1, 2020)
“The vibe in the ED is definitely different than I’ve ever experienced,” says Alexis Cates, DO, an emergency physician in Philadelphia.

COVID-19 Updates (Week of March 25, 2020)
The DO speaks with an emergency physician on the frontlines of the pandemic.

COVID-19 Updates (Week of March 18, 2020)
Everyday life across the country has dramatically changed as cases skyrocket. The DO speaks with an infectious diseases specialist in Oregon about his observations.

COVID-19 Updates (Week of March 11, 2020)
The WHO officially declares the virus a pandemic, and The DO discusses the situation with a family physician who focuses on infectious diseases.

COVID-19 Updates (Week of March 4, 2020)
Learn the latest COVID-19 developments as cases continue to grow in the U.S. and abroad.

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