SOHO HEALTH COVID-19 CLINICAL FAQs

Updated 3/23/20

Visit the COVID-19 Information & Resources page here.
Patients can visit the COVID-19 Patient Resources page here.

Testing

Effective 3/20/20 Quest will be on board as another lab Trinity Health Of New England will partner with for testing. Going forward, routine COVID-19 tests will be routed to Quest with TAT of up to 4 days and all STAT COVID-19 will be routed to Genesys reserved for colleagues, ED, inpatient and ICU patients (TAT around 12 hours but currently at 48 hours).  There continues to be a national shortage of both test kits and swabs/viral media. 

Quest

There are a number of questions around Quest’s ability to perform COVID-19 testing. Please see Quest’s page linked here.
The link of healthcare providers can be found here.
Check their page regularly for updates.

Of note, Quest can run tests for COVID-19 but is not providing specimen collection. At this time, SOHO HEALTH and Trinity Health Of New England are NOT recommending ambulatory providers collect specimens in their practices. Please use the COVID19 Drive Through Testing for Ambulatory Clinicians protocol to determine if your patient is appropriate for screening and if so, follow directions to get them tested through one of two Trinity Health Of New England drive-through testing sites in Hartford at 1000 Asylum Avenue or in Waterbury at St. Mary’s Hospital. We anticipate the third testing site at Johnson Memorial Hospital to be operational on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

SOHO HEALTH COVID-19 Resources

The SOHO HEALTH COVID-19 Information & Resources page can be found at https://sohohealth.com/covid-19-info-resources/. Please bookmark this page and check back frequently for updates.
Questions can be sent COVID19@SOHOHEALTH.com

SOHO HEALTH Practice Resources

If your practice location’s hours or appointment policies have changed, we’re happy to share those on our COVID-19 Information & Resources page. Please forward the information you would like posted to COVID19@sohohealth.com.

Currently, we have updated policies for Radiology Associates of Hartford.
The Saint Francis GI Endoscopy Center is closed until further notice.

General Questions

Should I be shutting down my practice?

SOHO HEALTH cannot advise our member practices on the decision to maintain or shut down your practice. There continues to be a need for healthcare providers to see and treat our patients during this pandemic.

We are working with our payor partners to allow for reimbursement of telehealth visits so that you can continue to see your patients as safely as possible during this period. We know that PPE supplies are in high demand and short supplies, we continue to stay in contact with our suppliers togive you updated information on when supplies will be available. If you have questions about how and when to appropriately use PPE, please reference the video guides on our COVID19 website under Personal Protective Equipment.

Ultimately the decision to shut down or remain open is an individual business and safety decision.

SOHO HEALTH Practice Solutions & Assistance

Can the SOHO Care Management team help me with patients who I’m discouraging from coming into the office because they’re at increased risk but want to make sure that we’re checking in on?

Yes. You can contact the SOHO Care Management referral line at 1-866-534-4638. Alternatively, you can fax in the referral form to 860-812-2209.

It would be great if you could provide interpretation services.

SOHO HEALTH is finalizing a contract with ITI to provide competitive pricing for their language services to our members. Once finalized, we will share information on how to contract with ITI.

Telehealth

Are insurance carriers paying for Telehealth services?

This is a complicated question and varies by state and by payer.

Please reference the linked bulletin on the COVID-19 Information & Resources page:
For Massachusetts click here. For Connecticut, click here.

SOHO HEALTH and Trinity Health Of New England are using their resources to urge the Governor of Connecticut to institute a mandate similar to the one Governor Baker of Massachusetts has passed requiring all payors to follow Mass Health Telehealth billing requirements and guidelines.

Can you comment on CMS?

Please see the attached press release from CMS on the use of Telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries here.

Major highlights for the press release include:

  • Effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare Telehealth services furnished to patients in broader circumstances.
  • These visits are considered the same as in-person visits and are paid at the same rate as regular, in-person visits.
  • Starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for professional services furnished to beneficiaries in all areas of the country in all settings.
  • While they must generally travel to or be located in certain types of originating sites such as a physician’s office, skilled nursing facility or hospital for the visit, effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare Telehealth services furnished to beneficiaries in any healthcare facility and in their home.
  • The Medicare coinsurance and deductible would generally apply to these services. However, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for Telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs.
  • To the extent the 1135 waiver requires an established relationship, HHS will not conduct audits to ensure that such a prior relationship existed for claims submitted during this public health emergency.

For commercial carriers, will Telehealth visits be covered for anything over than COVID19-related purposes? For example, a patient who is afraid of coming to the office or shouldn’t travel to the office because of other conditions that make him/her at higher risk?

At this time, guidance from Connecticut commercial carriers where available is limiting Telehealth visits to COVID19-related purposes and in some cases, payors are limiting Telehealth visits to their preferred platforms.

Are there Telehealth platforms available for non-Epic practices who want to implement Telehealth?

Yes, see list below. As we learn of more, we’ll update the list.

Also please see Dr. Quan’s and Dr. Bansal’s websites for information about telehealth.

We are having a lot of no-shows and cancellations (over 70%). Can we do Tele-health visits for follow up patients via telephone?

At this time, for Connecticut payors, we are not aware of any who are paying for Telehealth visits for anything other than COVID19-related issues. Please continue to monitor our COVID19 resources page and payor updates for more up to date information (link here).

Epic has the option for Telehealth – are we working on this?

Yes, Trinity Health Of New England is working on standing up an approved telehealth solution as soon as possible. We’ll update the network as soon as we’re aware of progress.

Will IT staff “fast track” billing codes for telehealth servies in EPIC??  Waiting the typical 2-3 weeks will put us in financial trouble.

Trinity Health Of New England is meeting about this today, March 18. As soon as we have an update, we’ll share.

Mobile Testing Sites

Is a paper version of the testing order form available? Updated 3/23/20

Patients can go to the drive through testing with a paper order. The access staff at the drive through will convert the order into EPIC.

Will there be a fax number for Johnson and Saint Francis drive through testing? If so when? Updated 3/23/20

The Johnson Memorial Hospital Drive Through is now setup and operational with fax capability. The fax # is 860-684-8292. Saint Francis is still working on this.

Is there a phone number for doctors to call and understand the status of testing? Updated 3/23/20

Providers can call the following numbers and be prepared to provide lab staff with patient name, DOB and/or MRN. The following numbers should not be shared with patients:

  • St. Francis Main Lab: 860-714-4939
  • Mercy Main Lab: 413-748-9556
  • St. Mary’s Main Lab: 203-709-6050
  • Johnson Memorial Lab: 860-684-8230

Are there any mobile testing sites? Updated 3/21/20

Trinity Health Of New England is standing up three mobile testing sites. In Hartford at 1000 Asylum Avenue, in Waterbury at St. Mary’s Hospital, and in Stafford Springs at Johnson Memorial Hospital (pending DPH approval on Wednesday, March 18).

What is the protocol for sending my patients to the mobile test sites?

Please follow the guidance in the attached document COVID19 Drive Through Testing for Ambulatory Clinicians.

If you are on Epic, you will be able to place an order for the COVID-19 testing: COVID-19 (Genesys).

Can I use Epicare Link to place the order if I’m not on Epic?

No, not at this time. Trinity Health Of New England is working on setting up fax numbers for providers to fax orders to the testing site and eliminate the need for patients to come to your office to pick up the order.

What do patients need to be able to get tested at the mobile site?

Patients will need an order (either electronic through Epic) or a written order and their ID.

Are Trinity Health Of New England’s mobile testing sites open to all patients, even non Trinity Health or SOHO HEALTH patients?

Yes, any patient with a doctor’s order and an ID can get tested (as long as testing supplies are available).

Will there be a hotline set up so I can call ahead to find out if testing is still taking place? I don’t want to send my patients unnecessarily.

Yes, Trinity Health Of New England is setting up a hotline. As soon as we get that number we will forward it.

Does our new drive through test center test children of any age? If yes, does the parent show their ID?

There is no cut off age for testing; however toddlers and infants would be best cared for at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Will the new Trinity Covid-19 hotline triage the symptoms/exposure AND ordering of the Viral Respiratory Panel with COVID-19 so the patient can get tested at the drive thru vs having ambulatory order? (i.e. like Hartford Hospital)

At present the hotline will not be for ordering tests. This may evolve.

What are the hours of the mobile testing sites?

St. Francis Hospital: 8AM – 4PM
St. Mary’s Hospital: 9AM – 3PM

Click here to return to the COVID-19 Information & Resources Home Page