This page was last updated on 1/27/2022. Please check back frequently for updates.

ASCO has compiled resources from federal agencies and state health departments for oncology professionals to access rapidly changing information on the COVID-19 pandemic. These links capture updates from government authorities and payers and will be updated on a regular basis as new resources become available. Additionally, ASCO has developed resources to address existing information gaps.

ASCO Resources

National and Public Health Emergencies

On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar declared a public health emergency (PHE) effective January 27, 2020, affording the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) the flexibility to quickly support Medicare beneficiaries. On March 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency effective March 1, 2020, affording additional flexibilities such as Section 1135 waivers. The most recent renewal of the PHE occurred on January 14, 2022, with an effective date of January 16, 2022. This renewal expires after 90 days unless renewed again by the Secretary. However, in an earlier letter to Governors, the Acting Secretary of HHS indicated that states will be provided with 60 days’ notice prior to PHE termination or expiration.

Provider Relief Fund Updates

On January 25, 2022, HHS announced that it is making more than $2 billion in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 General Distribution payments to more than 7,600 providers across the country. Similar to payments allocated in December 2021, these payments will be based on lost revenues and increased expenses due to COVID-19 and will be made to physicians who previously applied for relief funds. HHS will reimburse a larger share of losses and increased expenses for smaller providers. See here for additional information on current and previous disbursements, reporting requirements, and auditing.  

Telehealth (Medicare & Medicaid)

Effective for services starting March 1, 2020, and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for telehealth services for all Medicare beneficiaries. ASCO has developed a reference guide for telehealth services and other communication-based technology services including e-visits, virtual visits, and telephone evaluation and management services in Medicare. Additionally, we have created a new guide regarding telehealth coverage and Medicaid.

In the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule, released December 2, 2020, CMS permanently added approximately 10 services to the telehealth list beginning in 2021 and temporarily added an additional set of services through December 31, 2021, or the year in which the PHE ends, whichever is later. In the 2022 PFS proposed rule, CMS proposes temporarily extending certain telehealth services beyond the end of the pandemic and finalizing code G2252 for 11-20 minutes of audio-only assessment.

See ASCO in Action for more information on the 2022 PFS changes and refer to this earlier ASCO in Action for additional details on previous changes.

Private Payers and Telehealth

Private insurers and other payers have been changing and expanding their coverage policies for telehealth in response to COVID-19. ASCO has developed a resource guide to help cancer care providers and patients follow this change.  This chart will be regularly updated, but we also encourage individuals to independently confirm the coverage details for their respective plans.

CMS and OSHA Vaccine Requirements

On November 4, 2021, CMS and OSHA released interim final rules outlining requirements for vaccination, testing, and exemptions for workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-regulated facilities and for workers at companies or organizations with 100 or more employees, respectively.

Both rules became the subjects of lawsuits and eventually this litigation made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On January 13, 2022, the Court ruled that the CMS rule could go forward and allowed CMS to enforce its vaccine mandate nationwide; however, the Court blocked OSHA from enforcing its large employer vaccinate-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard.

CMS has since issued a variety of materials designed to assist facilities and providers with implementation, including a guidance memo, vaccination requirements FAQs, an infographic, implementation timeline, and a vaccine requirement decision tree.

View the CMS rule and the OSHA rule.

Please see ASCO in Action for additional details.

Prior updates for historical reference purposes are available in the Prior COVID-19 Government, Reimbursement & Regulatory Updates.