COVID-19 News and Updates

Vaccine Hotline information (April 14, 2021)

The hotline is here to help you: schedule your vaccine appointment, find vaccine providers in your area, and connect with medical professionals who can answer your vaccine questions.

Immediate Pause in the use of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine in the United States (April 14, 2021)

Following FDA and CDC recommendations, providers in Louisiana should pause administering the J&J COVID-19 vaccine immediately, and all shipments to providers will be temporarily suspended until more information is gathered.

LDH Informational Bulletin 20-4: MHR Telemedicine/Telehealth (April 8, 2021)

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) acknowledges the need for the continued facilitation of MHR services during the COVID-19 declared emergency.

LDH Informational Bulletin 20-6: LMHP Telemedicine/Telehealth (April 8, 2021)

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) acknowledges the need for the continued facilitation of outpatient behavioral health services during the COVID-19 declared emergency.

LDH Informational Bulletin 20-7: SUD Telemedicine/Telehealth (April 8, 2021)

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) acknowledges the need for the continued facilitation of Outpatient Substance Use Disorder (OP-SUD) treatment services during the COVID-19 declared emergency.

LDH Informational Bulletin 20-5: COVID-19 Provider Update (March 29, 2021)

This bulletin is to inform all providers rendering services to Louisiana Medicaid members, including members of all Medicaid managed care organizations (MCO). This advisory will be updated as new information is available.

Louisiana to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to ALL individuals aged 18 and up (16 and up for Pfizer product) (March 26, 2021)

Louisiana Health Alert Network (LA HAN)--Louisiana Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility to All Individuals 18 & Up (16 & Up for Pfizer)

Louisiana expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to Phase 1b, Tier 2, all essential workers are now eligible (March 19, 2021)

The State of Louisiana is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to Phase 1b, Tier 2, which makes all essential workers eligible as of Monday, March 22, 2021. All persons currently eligible in Phases 1a and 1b, Tier 1 remain eligible.

Emergency Order: Protocol for Administration of Certain COVID-19 Vaccines (March 15, 2020)

The purpose of this emergency order is to authorize certain medical professionals to administer the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines by protocol in lieu of a patient-specific order from a physician and prescribing practitioner.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (March 15, 2021)

Protocol for Administering Vaccine to Persons 16 Years of Age and Older

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (March 15, 2021)

Protocol for Administering Vaccine to Persons 18 Years of Age and Older

Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) (March 15, 2021)

Protocol for Administering Vaccine to Persons 18 Years of Age and Older

COVID-19 Vaccines: A Conversation with Faith-based Communities (March 12, 2021)

Join us for a captivating conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine and faith-based communities.

COVID-19 Vaccine Locations

COVID-19 Vaccine Locations

COVID19 Vaccination Events (March 4, 2021)

The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and family members from COVID.

Resuming outpatient authorization renewals (March 2, 2021)

Existing outpatient service authorizations extended to April 30, 2021. Providers must submit renewal requests for any subsequent renewals needed for authorizations end dates after April 30, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccines: A Conversation with Nurses (February 19, 2021)

Join us for a captivating conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine and the nursing community.

Vaccine Administration and Management (January 21, 2021)

This is a message from the Louisiana Department of Health Emergency Operations Center (LDH EOC) for the Louisiana Health Alert Network (LA HAN) recipients. This message is from Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer, regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Administration and Management . Please share and distribute with relevant stakeholders and partners through your own distribution channels.

Prohibition against patient/non-patient discrimination in use of OWS COVID-19 vaccine doses (January 21, 2021)

The Department of Health has recently received indications that certain vaccine providers in the state are reserving their excess doses (i.e., doses that exceeds hospital, clinic, or pharmacy staff uptake) of OWS COVID-19 vaccine for existing patients of their clinic, pharmacy, system or institution (e.g., only for persons who have been patients of the hospital or clinic within the last x months).

COVID-19 vaccines: A Conversation with the African American Community (January 12, 2021)

Join us for a riveting conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine and minority communities. Our expert panel will inform and educate with the facts and lead us to a path to our new normal. We hope you plan to attend on January 22nd!

Medicare Advantage — COVID-19 Update: Healthy Blue suspends select prior authorization rules and announces significant policy adjustments in response to unprecedented demands on health care providers (updated December 24, 2020)

Healthy Blue recognizes the intense demands facing doctors, hospitals and all health care providers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, unless otherwise required under State and Federal mandates, Healthy Blue is making adjustments to assist providers in caring for members.

HHS begins distributing over $24 billion in Phase 3 COVID-19 Provider Relief Funding (December 24, 2020)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has announced the completion of the review of Phase 3 applications from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) program and will now distribute $24.5 billion to over 70,000 providers. Up from the $20 billion originally planned, the addition of another $4.5 billion in funding is being used to meet close to 90 percent of each applicant’s reported lost revenues and net change in expenses caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of 2020. Payment distribution started December 16, 2020, and will continue through January 2021.

Revision to COVID-19 testing payment methodology (December 24, 2020)

Effective January 1, 2021, Medicaid is revising its payment methodology for high throughput COVID-19 testing to align with Medicare rates. Currently, these tests (HCPCS codes U0003 and U0004) are both reimbursed at $100 per test, but beginning January 1, 2021, Medicare is reducing the base payment for each of these tests to $75.

COVID-19 information from Healthy Blue (December 10 update)

Healthy Blue will waive cost shares for Medicare Advantage members — including copays, coinsurance and deductibles — for COVID-19 tests and visits associated with the COVID-19 test (including visits to determine if testing is needed). Tests samples may be obtained in many settings including a doctor’s office, urgent care, ER or even drive-thru testing once available. While a test sample cannot be obtained through a telehealth visit, the telehealth provider can connect patients with a test. The waivers apply to members who have individual, employer-sponsored, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans.

COVID-19 Update October 20, 2020: Reporting of COVID-19/SARS-Cov-2 Results (November 24, 2020)

All facilities performing testing for COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 are required to report all COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 results to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). All results (positive, negative, indeterminate, or other) for point-of-care testing, antibody testing, or any other testing performed to diagnose COVID-19 are required to be reported within 24 hours of the result being determined.

HHS Expands Relief Fund Eligibility and Updates Reporting Requirements (October 28, 2020)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the latest Provider Relief Fund (PRF) application has been expanded to include provider applications such as residential facilities, chiropractors, and eye and vision providers that have not yet received PRF distributions.

Third General Distribution of Provider Relief Fund (10/09/2020)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a third phase of general distribution funding from the Provider Relief Fund in the amount of $20 billion. The application for the third phase opens Monday, October 5, and closes on Friday, November 6, 2020.

Mental health rehabilitation telemedicine/telehealth denials (October 5, 2020)

Effective March 20, 2020, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) issued approval for mental health rehabilitation (MHR) telemedicine/telehealth billing for a specified listing of codes referenced in the Informational Bulletin 20-4 Telemedicine/Telehealth Facilitation of Mental Health Rehabilitation Services during the COVID-19 Declared Emergency. Healthy Blue has identified that appropriately billed MHR telemedicine/telehealth claims have been denied.

COVID-19 lab test authorization denials (September 18, 2020)

Healthy Blue identified an issue where codes listed on the Louisiana Medicaid COVID-19 Laboratory Testing Fee Schedule have denied for lack of authorization. Codes listed on this fee schedule do not require an authorization.

COVID-19 medical inpatient hospitalization authorization denials (09/11/2020)

In response to COVID-19, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) suspended utilization management for medical hospitalizations effective March 17, 2020. Healthy Blue identified an issue where some medical inpatient hospital claims with dates of service after March 17, 2020, have been denied for lack of authorization.

Medicaid Provider Relief Funding Deadline Extended and Update on Eligibility (August 5, 2020)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Provider Relief Fund, is distributing $15 billion to eligible Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and dental providers that have been impacted by COVID-19. Eligible providers may receive up to 2% of reported revenue from patient care. The application deadline has been further extended to offer providers additional opportunity to apply for funding. You must act by Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET to be considered for payment from this distribution.

Medicaid Provider Relief Funding Frequently Asked Questions (July 31, 2020)

We have had several discussions with providers on the difficulties faced when applying for the CARES Provider Relief Funding (PRF) available to Medicaid and CHIP providers. The deadline to apply is Monday, August 3, 2020, and we have created additional Frequently Asked Questions to help with the process.

Updated Deadline: Medicaid Provider Relief Funding Applications Due August 3, 2020 (July 21, 2020)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers to apply for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF). The deadline to apply is now Monday, August 3, 2020.

Reminder: Medicaid Provider Relief Funding Update and Webinar (July 14, 2020)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has allocated $15 billion of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers. Any qualifying Medicaid or CHIP provider has another opportunity to apply for a PRF payment equivalent to two percent (2%) of their total net patient revenue if they did not receive funds from the initial disbursement.

Medicaid Provider Relief Funding Update and Webinar (July 6, 2020)

Any qualifying Medicaid or CHIP provider has another opportunity to apply for a CARES Act Provider Relief Fund payment equivalent to two percent (2%) of their total net patient revenue if they did not receive funds from the initial disbursement. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 20, 2020. To learn more, register to attend the webinar on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 3 p.m. CST, or review the fact sheet below.

Upcoming Medicaid Provider Relief Portal Webinars — June 23 & June 25 (June 22, 2020)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will host two webinars this week to assist Medicaid providers in understanding how to use and submit applications to the Medicaid provider relief portal. The webinars will be held on Tuesday, June 23 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern (1:00 p.m. CDT) and Thursday, June 25 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern (1:00 p.m. CDT). Registration is required.

Telehealth support for Louisiana behavioral health providers (June 19, 2020)

The Center for Evidence to Practice (E2P) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) understand the sudden transition to telehealth has not been easy, which is why they would like to hear more about your telehealth experiences during the pandemic. Please take 3-5 minutes to complete the survey.

Healthy Louisiana Informational Bulletin 20-8: Federal COVID-19 Provider Funding Information (June 15, 2020)

This bulletin is to inform about federal funding directly available to providers through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This bulletin will be updated as new information is available. Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act provides nearly $2 trillion in emergency relief funding in support of the national response to COVID-19.

Resources for Providers and Organizations to Promote Wellness & Preventative Care

With guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (LA AAP) began offering guidance to its members and pediatricians throughout the state on ways to continue to safely care for their patients in the midst of the pandemic. This toolkit builds on the work that has been done thus far and is meant to provide pediatricians with easy to use resources to reach out to families. LA AAP believes in the value and importance of the well child visits and the role preventative care has to keep children healthy.

New Medicaid Eligibility Group Covers COVID-19 Testing for Uninsured Patients

Per the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Louisiana Medicaid has expanded coverage to include COVID-19 testing for uninsured individuals for the duration of the federally declared public health emergency.

Data Requested by HHS for CARES Act Provider Relief Funding (May 7, 2020)

Louisiana Medicaid will provide information to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to inform the future distribution of CARES Act Provider Relief Funds to Medicaid providers. This includes all Medicaid providers and does not exclude any provider types.

Infection Control Guidance for Home Health Agencies

Healthcare personnel (HCP) who work in multiple locations may pose a higher risk for acquiring and/or transmitting COVID-19. Therefore, shifts at the same member’s home should be consolidated when possible and covered by the minimum number of HCP allowable with respect to HCP availability while adhering to overtime limits.

Prohibited PPE Billing

Louisiana Medicaid has received calls from Medicaid beneficiaries who are being charged for personal protective equipment (PPE) during their dental visits. Pursuant to Medicaid regulations requiring that providers accept Medicaid payment as “payment in full,” providers are not allowed to bill Medicaid beneficiaries for any extra PPE that may be required to perform medical or dental services.

Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update for Pediatric Day Health Care (PDHC) Facilities: Infection Control Guidance and Temporary Allowance of In-Home Services

The Louisiana Department of Health is temporarily changing the Pediatric Day Health Care (PDHC) program policies to allow services to be provided in the home during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Listen now! Webinar recording available from Healthy Blue for network providers on SBA loans and other federal relief programs in response to COVID-19

We are committed to helping care providers learn how you can secure resources to support yourselves and your business during the COVID-19 crisis. On April 30, 2020, we hosted a webinar to share information and resources with network providers regarding opportunities to access loans through the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) and other federal programs in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 on care providers that are also small employers.

Telehealth & COVID-19 Billing and Reimbursement

The Louisiana Managed Medicaid Association (LMMA), in partnership with Healthy Louisiana Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), has developed this presentation to provide guidance on telehealth and COVID-19 billing and reimbursement.

Allowable Medical, Surgical and Dental Procedures

This message is intended to simplify and clarify the 20-25: Healthcare Facility Notice/Order #2020-COVID19-ALL-010 that was issued on Monday, April 20, 2020.

COVID-19 positive persons with mental illness and/or substance use disorders

In light of the national COVID-19 crisis, there are increased associated risk factors for persons with mental illness and/or substance use disorders due to increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other comorbid conditions. Because of these factors, it is extremely important that individuals who are COVID-19 positive and who may be persons under investigation (PUI), who are not at risk for more severe medical or respiratory outcomes (i.e., those with early or mild symptoms), continue to have access to these residential levels of care if/when medically necessary.

Healthy Louisiana Informational Bulletin 20-11: Teledentistry during the COVID-19 Declared Emergency

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) acknowledges the need for the continued emergency dental care for patients during the COVID-19 declared emergency. While some services will continue to be performed in dental offices, LDH recognizes that beneficiaries would be best served when telecommunication technology can be leveraged to support dental care.

Healthy Louisiana Informational Bulletin 20-9: EPSDT Personal Care Services

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is temporarily changing qualifications for providers of Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) personal care services (PCS) during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Prior authorization extension for mental health rehabilitation services during COVID-19 emergency

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, Healthy Blue is assuring continuity of care for members with existing prior authorization for mental health rehabilitation (MHR) services through this declared state of emergency.

Prior authorization extension for ABA services during COVID-19 emergency

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, Healthy Blue is extending concurrent authorizations for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services through at least June 30, 2020, to ensure continuity of care for members as clinically indicated.

Telemedicine claims denials for Mental Health Rehabilitation services

COVID-19 Healthy Blue expedited enrollment (March 26, 2020)

At the request of the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and as part of our response to coronavirus (COVID-19), Healthy Blue is aligning with NCQA exceptions and allowances effective March 18, 2020. A process has been established to expedite enrollment for new providers who meet the minimum requirements to participate in Healthy Blue’s network.

Healthy Louisiana guidance on telemedicine and laboratory claims

This provider bulletin details important guidance from all Healthy Louisiana Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) regarding telemedicine and laboratory claims.

Updated COVID-19 Notice: Medical and Surgical Procedures Other Healthcare Services (March 21, 2020)

This Healthcare Facility Notice will provide new information on Medical and Surgical Procedures, and shall supersede the information on Medical and Surgical Procedures in the LDH Notice #2020-COVID19-ALL-006 dated March 18, 2020.