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COVID-19 Information for AAOMS Members: Updates and Resources

COVID-19 Updates

March 26, 2020

AAOMS Advantage Partner Updates and Offers

March 25, 2020

Telehealth Resources At-a-Glance

March 20, 2020

Exceptions in Effect to In-person Evaluation for Controlled Substance Prescriptions

U.S. Department of Education Provides Temporary Relief to Student Loan Borrowers

President Trump Signs COVID-19 Bill with Implications for Small Businesses

March 19, 2020

AAOMS events canceled

Headquarters staff working remotely

Beware of virus-related email phishing schemes

Check settings on AAOMS email communications

Day on the Hill now virtual event


COVID-19 Updates for Members Only (Log-in Required)

March 27, 2020

COVID-19 Guidance FAQs

March 24, 2020

Member Alert: Difficult times; difficult decisions. Always advocating for OMSs

AAOMS Advocacy on COVID-19 Issues

March 19, 2020

Message from AAOMS President: Spread of COVID-19 prompts request from CMS

AAOMS provides daily state-by-state updates

March 17, 2020

Member Alert: AAOMS COVID-19 Guidance for OMS Practices


COVID-19 Resources


AAOMS Advantage Partner Updates and Offers

March 26, 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to create unprecedented challenges, several AAOMS Advantage Partners are working to offer additional assistance and special offers exclusively for AAOMS members. Visit the AAOMS Advantage News page for the latest offers and updates.


Telehealth Resources At-a-Glance

March 25, 2020

Telehealth Resources webpage

With the COVID-19 outbreak, CMS and states are working to eliminate barriers to telehealth use – including telephone or “virtual” evaluations and/or treatment advice – to help patients access care remotely and reduce the strain on hospitals and clinics. AAOMS has assembled a new webpage – Telehealth Resources – with details and links that will be updated when new information becomes available. In addition, AAOMS published AAOMS White Paper: Telehealth and Remote Treatment in January.


Exceptions in Effect to In-person Evaluation for Controlled Substance Prescriptions

March 20, 2020

With a public health emergency in effect due to COVID-19, certain exceptions are being made to the in-person medical evaluation requirement of the Controlled Substances Act.

DEA-registered practitioners in all areas of the United States may issue prescriptions for all Schedule II-V controlled substances to patients for whom they have not conducted an in-person medical evaluation, provided all of the following conditions are met:

  • The prescription is issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a practitioner acting in the usual course of his/her professional practice.
  • The telemedicine communication is conducted using an audio-visual, real-time, two-way interactive communication system.
  • The practitioner is acting in accordance with applicable federal and state laws.

This exception started March 16 and will continue for as long as the designation of a public health emergency – declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services – remains in effect.

To learn more, visit https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/coronavirus.html.


U.S. Department of Education Provides Temporary Relief to Student Loan Borrowers

March 20, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid will set interest rates at 0 percent for all federally held student loans for at least 60 days beginning on March 13. In addition, it will permit payments to be suspended on these loans for at least two months, which will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest. To request this forbearance, borrowers should contact their loan servicer online or by phone. For more information, visit https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/delivering-president-trumps-promise-secretary-devos-suspends-federal-student-loan-payments-waives-interest-during-national-emergency.


President Trump Signs COVID-19 Bill with Implications for Small Businesses

March 20, 2020

Congress passed – and President Donald Trump signed into law on March 18 – legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201) provides paid emergency leave for employees, free diagnostic testing, expanded food aid as well as tax credits to businesses as they deal with the economic implications of the pandemic.

With respect to small businesses, the new law establishes the following temporary requirements that will expire after Dec. 31, 2020:

Family and Medical Leave

  • Allows employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees who have been on the job at least 30 days to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if the school or place of care of an employee’s child is closed due to COVID-19. The first 10 days of leave could consist of unpaid leave or the employee may elect to substitute accrued vacation, personal, or medical or sick leave. After the initial 10 days, the employer must pay the employee no less than two-thirds their rate.
  • Includes a hardship exemption for employers with less than 50 employees when the imposition of the requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.
  • Suggests that while employers with fewer than 50 employees are generally still required to comply with the emergency paid family and medical leave requirements, if they do not, they may not be subject to damages for this violation. It is important to note that this language does not mean that the law does not apply to such employers. It only means that damages may not be available for failing to provide the emergency paid family and medical leave, but other remedies, such as equitable relief, may still be.
  • The FMLA requirement that an employee be restored to the same or equivalent position after leave does not apply to an employer with fewer than 25 employees if the employee’s position no longer exists due to economic conditions or other changes in the employer’s operations that affect employment and are caused by the public health crisis during the period of leave. However, the employer must make reasonable efforts to restore the employee to the same or an equivalent position, and, if the reasonable efforts fail, the employer must make efforts to contact the employee and reinstate the employee if an equivalent position becomes available within a one-year period beginning on the earlier of (a) the date on which the qualifying need related to a public health emergency concludes, or (b) the date that is 12 weeks after the date the employee’s leave started.

Sick Leave

  • In addition to FMLA, employers also must provide two weeks immediate sick-leave benefits to employees at their regular rate if they are quarantined due to exposure or experiencing symptoms or at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate if they are caring for a family member who is quarantined because they were exposed, diagnosed or experiencing symptoms, or to care for a child if the school or place of care has been closed due to coronavirus.
  • Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time employees are entitled to the typical number of hours they work in a typical two-week period.
  • The Secretary of Labor is provided the additional discretion to exclude emergency responders and healthcare workers from the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave required under the bill. This was intended to prevent a workforce shortage at nursing and assisted-living facilities.
  • A hardship exemption is included for employers with less than 50 employees when the imposition of the requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.
  • Employers are required to post notice of sick leave requirements in conspicuous places. Model language will be provided by the Secretary of Labor within seven days of enactment.

Tax Credits

  • Refundable tax credits will be provided to employers to offset the cost of these mandates. The tax refunds are equal to 100 percent of qualified paid sick and family leave wages paid by an employer for each calendar quarter.
  • The tax credits are allowed against the tax imposed by section 3111(a) (the employer portion of Social Security taxes).
  • For qualified sick leave, with respect to employees who must self-isolate, obtain a diagnosis, or comply with a self-isolation recommendation, the amount of qualified sick leave wages taken into account for each employee is capped at $511 per day. For amounts paid to employees caring for a family member or for a child whose school or place of care has been closed, the amount of qualified sick leave wages taken into account for each employee is capped at $200 per day. The aggregate number of days taken into account per employee may not exceed the excess of 10 over the aggregate number of days taken into account for all preceding calendar quarters. If the credit exceeds the employer’s total liability under section 3111(a) for all employees for any calendar quarter, the excess credit is refundable to the employer. Employers may elect to not have the credit apply.
  • For qualified family leave, the amount of qualified family leave wages taken into account for each employee is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 for all calendar quarters. If the credit exceeds the employer’s total liability under section 3111(a) for all employees for any calendar quarter, the excess credit is refundable to the employer.
  • The provision of employer provided health insurance will be allowed to be factored into the tax credit calculation for paid family and sick leave.

AAOMS events canceled

March 19, 2020

AAOMS had to make difficult decisions due to the risks posed by COVID-19. Out of concern for the safety of members and staff, four events have been canceled. These events include: Day on the Hill (March 24 – 25), Clinical Trials Methods Course (April 29 – May 1), Educators Summit (May 2 – 3) and Educational Weekend (May 2 – 3) – including the Practice Management Stand-Alone Meeting, the Advanced Protocols for Medical Emergencies in the OMS Office and Beyond the Basics Coding Workshop.

Other AAOMS in-person committee and board meetings also are being moved to a virtual format or postponed.


Headquarters staff working remotely

March 19, 2020

Due to the spread of coronavirus, AAOMS headquarters staff is working remotely until further notice in compliance with a request by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Using the latest software and technology, AAOMS staff are available to answer all phone calls and emails in a timely manner. The only difference might be a slight delay in processing payments.


Beware of virus-related email phishing schemes

March 19, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has led online scammers to create email phishing schemes in an attempt to profit on people’s confusion. AAOMS is aware of one such phishing attempt this week that informs recipients they “have pending incoming emails” they will not receive unless they confirm the account within 24 hours. It purports to be from the “AAOMS.org support team.” Please immediately delete this fraudulent email.


Check settings on AAOMS email communications

March 19, 2020

During this ever-changing pandemic, AAOMS is sending important email messages. Be sure to check spam filters or junk folders if AAOMS emails are not showing up in your inbox. If your emails are filtered, please whitelist or choose “never block sender” so AAOMS emails come through. To confirm an opt-in status for AAOMS emails – including member alerts – visit AAOMS.org/member-center/subscribe, enter the information, check the communications categories and click the subscribe button.


Day on the Hill now virtual event

March 19, 2020

Because the Day on the Hill in-person meeting was canceled due to the coronavirus, all AAOMS members are asked to participate in the virtual advocacy event. It is important this year because AAOMS expects actions related to the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act, Resident Education Deferred Interest (REDI) Act and surprise billing. More information will be released soon.