March 18, 2020
PPM’s coverage extends to insureds providing professional services for ICU, Critical Care and other patient care units and settings for COVID-19 patients.
Overland Park, Kansas – March 18, 2020 (Updated April 2, 2020) – Preferred Physicians Medical (PPM), industry-leading provider of professional liability insurance for anesthesia practices, has developed the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in response to a growing number of questions from PPM policyholders concerning their professional liability coverage stemming from the increasing incidences of COVID-19 affected areas.
Q: I normally provide anesthesia in the ORs. Am I covered if I practice in ICU, Critical Care or another part of the hospital to care for COVID-19 patients?
A: Yes. Your PPM policy covers you for your practice of medicine.
Q: Many states have waived licensure requirements to help address provider shortages around the country. Would I be covered if I am asked to practice in another state where I do not have a license?
A: Yes. Your PPM professional liability insurance policy provides coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. While state law continues to govern whether providers are required to maintain a license issued by the state’s licensing authority, an increasing number of states have eased or waived licensure restrictions during the pandemic. PPM encourages policyholders to reference the Federation of State Medical Boards and National Council of State Boards of Nursing’ websites for additional information regarding specific measures state boards have implemented in response to the national emergency: http://www.fsmb.org/advocacy/covid-19/; https://www.ncsbn.org/covid-19.htm.
Additionally, as part of the federal Public Health Emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, the Secretary of HHS waived certain participation requirements for health care providers treating individuals enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP programs, including the condition that physicians and other health care providers be licensed in the state in which they provide health care services.
Q: Am I covered by my PPM policy if I provide telehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak?
A: Yes. Your PPM professional liability insurance policy will provide coverage for your participation in providing telehealth professional services. Effective March 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth visits, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it will waive potential HIPAA penalties for good faith use of telehealth during the emergency, and the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) provided flexibility for health care providers to reduce or waive beneficiary cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal health programs. However, again, these federal waivers and modifications for physicians and health care professionals to participate in federal health programs do not waive any individual state medical or health care professional board licensure requirements.
PPM’s in-house attorneys and claims professionals are available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns regarding your professional liability coverage provided by your PPM policy.
More information may/can be found at the following websites:
Waiver or Modification of Requirements Under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act: https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/section1135/Pages/covid19-13March20.aspx
Section 1135 of the Social Security Act: https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title11/1135.htm
Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-declaring-national-emergency-concerning-novel-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak/
See CMS's press release: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/president-trump-expands-telehealth-benefits-medicare-beneficiaries-during-covid-19-outbreak
See OCR's guidance: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html
See OIG's policy statement: https://oig.hhs.gov/compliance/alerts/index.asp
Please rest assured PPM is here for all our insureds and stands ready to provide support and assistance for your professional liability insurance and risk management needs. We sincerely thank all health care providers for their incredible service to help patients, their families and communities every day, and especially during these challenging times.
For questions regarding your professional liability coverage please contact PPM’s Underwriting Department at 1-800-562-5589.