AOA is closely monitoring developments and actively providing updates regarding COVID-19 for doctors of optometry and patients.
Doctors of optometry may be eligible for additional U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) relief
Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) participating doctors of optometry who missed out on coronavirus-related relief funds may be eligible for additional relief payments, as the AOA continues to push for greater support and review of federal crisis relief measures.
With many providers experiencing significant financial hardships amid the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that certain Medicare providers would be given another opportunity to receive additional Provider Relief Fund payments. Providers who previously missed the June 3, 2020, deadline to apply for additional funding equal to 2% of their total patient care revenue from the $20 billion portion of the $50 billion Phase 1 General Distribution, including many Medicaid and CHIP providers with low Medicare revenues, may be eligible for the latest round of funds. In addition, certain providers who experienced a change in ownership, making them previously ineligible for Phase 1 funding, will also be given an opportunity to apply for financial relief.
Eligible doctors of optometry may now submit their application for possible funds by Aug. 28, 2020. This deadline aligns with the extended deadline for other eligible Phase 2 providers, such as Medicaid, Medicaid managed care and CHIP. For more information, visit hhs.gov/providerrelief.
AOA patient care guidance to doctors of optometry on coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, April 24, 2020
As doctors of optometry resume delivery of complete, comprehensive eye health and vision care under a new phase of the nation's continuing COVID-19 pandemic response, the AOA recommends that clinical judgment and practice operations should be informed by the April 19 CMS reopening guidance and the Opening Up America Again plan, as well as all state, state board and local health directives.
The AOA has confirmed the CDC has removed the agency's March 17 nationwide recommendation to postpone routine eye care is no longer in effect, and that CMS's specific guidance on reopening facilities to provide nonemergent and non-COVID-19 health care is in force. Under this framework, state-by-state decisions will guide when and how doctors and practices can resume delivery of complete, comprehensive care. CDC has followed this guidance with a proposed Framework for Healthcare Systems Providing Non-COVID-19 Clinical Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To assist doctors and their practices, the AOA has posted a guide to practice reactivation and other practice tools and crisis relief resources. In addition, members are urged to submit specific requests and questions to askAOA@aoa.org.
The AOA is closely monitoring developments and will actively provide updates regarding COVID-19 to ensure doctors of optometry and the general public not only understand the risks associated with this pandemic but also have the latest information available for continued patient care. The AOA's priority is to support the health and safety of the public and the optometric community, and will continue to assess the situation and update recommendations accordingly.
URGE your lawmakers to support immediate relief (S.3559/H.R.6365) for doctors of optometry and other physicians today!
COVID-19 lockdowns took their toll on optometry practices, but the AOA’s advocacy and guidance in accessing federal relief measures helped the profession recover over a billion dollars.
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Contact Lens Health Week, Aug. 17-21, is an opportunity to talk about safe handling.