Member Alert July 20: Kentucky COVID Cases See Largest Single-Day Increase

Positive cases of COVID-19 saw the largest single-day increase on Sunday since the pandemic began. A total of 979 new cases were reported across the state, including 30 in children under 5 years old.

Gov. Beshear will once again hold daily briefings at 4 p.m. each day this week to update on the virus and stated that “additional measures” would need to be taken to slow the spread. More information and an interactive map of cases is available at kycovid19.ky.gov.

KMA Advocates for COVID-19 Liability Protections

KMA, the Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce submitted a joint letter recently to Gov. Beshear urging a discussion that would consider statutory and regulatory solutions to a number of issues related to COVID-19 allegations and claims.

The letter asked for “clarity and stability” related to:

  • Whether providers who follow the Commonwealth’s crisis standards of care and pandemic planning guidelines have an absolute defense to liability for COVID-19- related claims.
  • Whether Kentucky’s statutes and regulations can better define how professional and institutional duties change in the time of a declared emergency.
  • Whether legal interventions can better empower and encourage courts to dismiss nuisance claims or allegations related to a declared emergency.
  • Whether there are circumstances in which limited legal immunity may be appropriate for COVID-19-related claims or allegations. This topic was presented solely for completeness in the discussion since many states have included immunity in their response to the COVID-19 emergency.

The full letter to Gov. Beshear is available here.

KMA continues to advocate for increased liability protections for physicians and prevent attempts to expand liability. KMA, along with the AMA, argued successfully before the Kentucky Supreme Court in Sneed v. University of Louisville Hospital, in which a patient brought a claim against a physician after the statute of limitations had passed, but argued that since she continued to receive care at the same hospital, but not by the same physician, the statute of limitations should not begin when care by the physician ended. The Supreme Court refused to extend the statute of limitations and dismissed the claim against the physician. KMA, once again with the AMA, is preparing to enter another case before the Kentucky Supreme Court, Shwab v. Revindra in which a patient claims that a signed consent form does not establish informed consent. The Court of Appeals ruled that such forms may be too long or confusing, necessitating the appeal to the Supreme Court. KMA is also planning to release a webinar in September regarding liability issues for physicians.

Provider Relief Fund Update

The Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it has extended the deadline for eligible Medicaid and CHIP physicians and organizations to submit information and apply for funding from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund from July 20 until August 3, 2020. HHS is distributing approximately $15 billion to eligible physicians who have not previously received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund. The payment amount will be at least 2 percent of reported gross revenue from patient care, and the final amount will be determined based on submitted data, including the number of Medicaid patients served. HHS has created a fact sheet explaining the application process and answering frequently asked questions.

KMA President Brent Wright Featured in KET “Visions”

KMA President Brent Wright, M.D. was recently featured in the KET monthly magazine and viewing guide Visions, discussing the importance of KMA’s public health work and the value of its various collaborations with the station. The issue is available for viewing and download here.

HHS Offering 10 Week Telemedicine Learning Collaborative

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering a 10-week learning community designed to accelerate telemedicine implementation for ambulatory providers.

“HHS Telemedicine Hack” will partner with the ECHO Institute at the University of New Mexico and the Public Health Foundation’s TRAIN Learning Network to deliver a 10-week, virtual peer-to-peer learning community. There is no cost to join the Telemedicine Hack initiative. All ambulatory providers (e.g., primary care, surgical, rural/urban, dental, mental health, solo practitioners) are invited to participate.

The program will be held virtually on Wednesdays from 12-1 p.m. ET beginning July 22. For more information and to register, click here.