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May 15: CMS Guidance Helps Medicare Pharmacies Address COVID-19 Testing

Posted on May 15, 2020 by Amplicare Team

Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week

The Story

Medicare pharmacies and suppliers can now temporarily enroll as independent clinical diagnostic laboratories to increase COVID-19 testing. Those interested will need to apply for a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificate.

Why It Matters

In a guidance document, CMS noted that the move will provide additional lab resources to help meet the need for increased testing capabilities. It also ensures that pharmacies get reimbursed for COVID-19 testing, which removes one of the hurdles to providing tests.

Medicare pharmacies can enroll and initiate temporary billing privileges via a provider enrollment hotline. The pharmacy’s Medicare Administrative Contractor will then confirm its status and effective date via email. Any pharmacies or suppliers not currently enrolled in Medicare but interested in becoming an independent clinical diagnostic laboratory must submit a Medicare enrollment application.

With the country looking to ramp up testing and fully reopen cities and states, CMS’ new guidance will help ensure greater access to testing through pharmacies.

Other healthcare news to know:

1. Routine vaccinations for children in the U.S. declined dramatically in March and April. STAT.

2. LabCorp is expanding availability of its at-home sample collection kit for COVID-19 testing to anyone with symptoms and possible exposure. Reuters

3. The FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorization to a fourth antibody test from Abbott. Drug Store News.

4. To combat misinformation, Twitter will alert users when tweets contain disputed or misleading claims about the coronavirus. AP.

5. In a new poll, 51% of Americans said they would join a cellphone-based contact-tracing program for coronavirus sponsored by the CDC. Becker’s Hospital Review.