• COVID-19: Practice Management

    Find resources that can help you manage your practice during the pandemic.

    Frontline Patient Care

    Guidance on Testing Options 
    This web page provides members with information on who to test, access and availability, types of tests, results, specimen collection, and coding and billing.

    Resources for Retired Physicians Returning to Practice
    This resource walks retired and inactive physicians through some basic information to consider, and questions to ask, if they are considering volunteering to provide care in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

    Providing Care Outside Typical Practice Setting
    The AAFP has developed a resource to assist physicians being asked to provide patient care in settings outside of their current practice in response to the COVID-19 emergency. This resource includes questions to ask and steps for physicians to take to protect themselves professionally.

    Coding and Payment

    Vaccine Coverage Requirements and Preliminary Payment Guidance

    The federal government is buying and distributing the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to physician practices, health systems, or other vaccine providers. Because of this, Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers will not reimburse for the vaccine supply itself in the near future. Download this guidance summary to see the requirements for various payers to cover vaccine administration and other related services, both during the public health emergency (PHE) and after it ends.

    Financial Relief Pathways 

    Some family physicians may qualify for financial relief through loans from the Small Business Administration, HHS Health Care Provider funding, and the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment program. The AAFP has developed a related loss calculator to walk members through financial information needed to apply for financial support once guidance has been released.  

    Medicare Coverage 
    CMS has updated policies regarding Medicare telehealth services to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes telehealth, virtual care and e-visits. 

    CMS Offers 2020 Reporting Relief, but This Time It's Not Automatic
    As outlined in a new FPM blog post, CMS is again offering QPP data reporting relief, but this time it's not automatic. Practices participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) that are significantly affected by the public health emergency can apply for the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception. In the blog post, the AAFP explains what this exception means for practices.

    Private Payer FAQs and Policies
    The AAFP is closely monitoring private payer policies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and has compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on information from each payer’s respective website.


    Private Payer Advocacy

    In late October 2020, the AAFP wrote to Anthem, Cigna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare to urge them to extend their expanded telehealth policies established during the public health emergency (PHE) period. The AAFP asked these payers to extend and support the following policies through at least the end of the PHE:

    • coverage of telehealth services delivered by in-network physicians,
    • cost-share waivers for primary care telehealth services, and
    • flexibilities allowing the use of non-HIPAA-compliant platforms.


    Telehealth Guidance

    Using Telehealth to Provide Care During Pandemic
    Telemedicine and virtual care have quickly become important tools in meeting your patients’ needs. Here’s what you need to know when providing telehealth services.

    General Provider Telehealth Toolkit
    CMS has developed a telehealth and telemedicine toolkit for primary care that provides an overview of the telehealth guidance and regulatory updates. 

    More Flexible Policies
    UnitedHealthcare has added flexibility to its telehealth policies to make it easier for patients to connect with their family physician. UHC will waive member cost-sharing for COVID-19-related visits.

    HIPAA Eases Technology Restrictions
    Physicians can now use apps that allow for video chats, including Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, and Skype, to provide telehealth without risk of penalty.

    Selecting Telehealth Technology
    View the telehealth platforms members are using in private practice and see the questions that can help you when exploring a telehealth platform. 

    The Difference Between Virtual Visits
    The new blog post "A virtual visit algorithm: how to differentiate and code telehealth visits, e-visits, and virtual check-ins" can help you assign reimbursement codes. It outlines four types of virtual visits and the algorithm as a quick way for physicians to tell these services apart.

    Managing Your Practice and Career

    Considerations on Reopening Your Practice 
    The AAFP has created a practice reopening checklist to help physicians make decisions on how and when to resume in-person visits. As more evidence becomes available, the AAFP will update our guidance. 

    Contact Tracing Guidance for Family Medicine
    Contact tracing is a core disease control measure. The AAFP's contact tracing guidance outlines contact tracing basics and how it will impact family medicine practices.

    Physician Employment Considerations
    As practices, hospitals, and health care systems review and adjust staffing levels and compensation due to lost revenue, your employer may wish to modify your contract. The AAFP has prepared information and questions to assist you in navigating your employment issues.

    Point of Care Testing 
    The AAFP Point-of-Care Testing Policy emphasizes that family physicians should have access to accurate and reliable point-of-care testing to expand patient access and improve care management.

    Addressing Non-urgent Care Needs
    The AAFP statement, Guidance for Family Physicians on Preventive and Non-Urgent Care, provides support to members making recommended changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Ensuring Proper Protection
    This AAFP position statement on personal protective equipment (PPE) provides support to members to ensure they are properly protected when treating patients during this pandemic.

    Physician Office Preparedness Checklist
    This resource outlines the necessary steps to protect your practice and patients. It was recently revised to include telehealth guidance, strategies to optimize personal protective equipment and definitions for self-monitoring, isolation and quarantine. 

    Physician Well-Being

    Free Resource: Physician Support Line
    The Physician Support Line is a national and confidential support line service made up of 600+ volunteer psychiatrists who offer peer support for physician colleagues during the epidemic. Open 7 days a week; no appointment is necessary.

    Webcast: Managing the COVID-19 Crisis
    Find out how you can care for the emotional health of all stakeholders in patient care (including yourself) with the free on demand webinar Maintaining the Emotional Health of You, Your Team, and Your Patients.
    Speaker: Psychologist Nancy Ruddy, Ph.D| Approved for 1 AAFP Prescribed Credit.

    Earn CME for Physician Well-Being during Pandemic  
    This course, Physician Well-being in the Time of the Pandemic, offers skill-building to alleviate the stress and cope with the trauma experienced while providing care to patients.

    4 Quick Stress Management Tips 
    Physicians must devote special attention to self-care during times of crisis. You can support your own well-being with the “Four principles for handling stress during a crisis.”  

    Decreasing Stress and Anxiety
    The AAFP offers a list of resources to help you, your family, your patients, and your team manage stress during this pandemic. 

    Resources to Support Your Family
    We know our members need resources to support their families as they themselves are working in patient care settings. This list of resources can help with child care while most schools and daycares are closed, and offers a set of online resources to support the education and entertainment of kids at home. 

    Ways to Reduce Home Exposure Risks
    The new Protecting the Health and Safety of Your Household provides guidance on limiting the risk to your family when you return home at the end of your workday.

    Free Therapy for COVID-19 Frontline Clinicians
    This online teletherapy program matches volunteer therapists to frontline healthcare workers. 

    Financial Resources

    A Lifeline for Your Practice
    The Small Business Administration (SBA), in conjunction with state governors, is working to provide targeted, low-interest loans to qualifying small businesses. Learn more about the SBA's COVID-19 related resources, or visit the SBA website to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

    View what other financial assistance programs are available in your state»

    More Resources from the AAFP on Financial Relief
    The Financial Relief for Family Physicians page breaks down available financial relief programs like the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund and the COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal.