Q: Can podiatrists prescribe and/or administer tests for COVID-19 diagnosis?
Whether or not podiatrists have the authority to prescribe and/or administer COVID-19 tests is dependent on state law, and APMA recommends that podiatrists contact their state licensing board (e.g., board of podiatry/board of medicine) for a determination on state law.
Q: Should DPMs continue treating patients?
APMA strongly recommends that, per the CDC's guidance below, you delay all elective ambulatory provider visits:
Health-care facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. The following actions can preserve staff, personal protective equipment, and patient care supplies; ensure staff and patient safety; and expand available hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Q: Should I continue with elective surgeries?
APMA recommends you discontinue elective procedures until we can flatten the curve. See the advice from the CDC above, and check out the following resources:
Q: What is the recommended timeframe regarding prioritizing urgent and emergency visits and procedures and delaying all elective ambulatory provider visits and elective surgical and procedural cases?
The CDC recommends that health-care facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks.
Q: Limiting my practice creates a financial hardship for me and my staff. Where can I find help?
APMA has compiled information on small business assistance. Access it at www.apma.org/covid19sba.
Access a summary of provisions from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act that may affect your practice.
After a decree by the president, states now have increased flexibility in how they manage unemployment insurance benefits during the pandemic.
Q: Does APMA have guidance about providing telehealth services?
Yes; watch our telehealth resources page. Members may need to provide telephone services and online digital evaluation and management services during this time. CMS has announced major changes to services that podiatrists can furnish remotely under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. This waiver allows Medicare to pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth. This change means podiatrists can submit CPT 99201–99215 when these services are provided remotely.
Q: How do I protect myself from contracting coronavirus in the health-care setting?
APMA recommends you prepare following the CDC advice:
Although you may not currently be experiencing COVID-19 exposure issues in your practice setting, now is the time to prepare for it. Start by familiarizing yourself with these infection control practices in the event you encounter someone with symptoms:
To review protective gear steps, download and view this CDC instructional document. Here is additional information about PPE from the CDC.
Q: Why are so many continuing education events being canceled?
The CDC's guidance for large events and mass gatherings for the next eight weeks is to cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. As of this writing, the APMA 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, scheduled for July 23–26, is still scheduled to take place. APMA is following CDC guidance and will continue to evaluate the situation as the event draws closer.
Q: How will I meet continuing education requirements to maintain my license with so many cancellations?
APMA is advocating for its members with the Federation of Podiatric Medical Boards. APMA’s Center for Professional Advocacy wrote a letter to the Federation of Podiatric Medical Boards (FPMB) to encourage member boards to allow online CECH and to allow extra time for DPMs to obtain CECH.
In response, the FPMB has recommended that its member board consider waivers, extensions, and modifications of licensing requirements, e.g., allowing or increasing online CECH. The FPMB also has compiled an outstanding state-by-state guide to coronavirus updates here.
Q: Does APMA have information for patients?
APMA is creating materials for our members to use with patients. In the coming days, we will alert members as more materials become available. We encourage members to use the outstanding resources the CDC has designed for a public audience. Here are a few examples:
Q: Is APMA open for business?
Rest assured, APMA is here and providing the member services you trust. Our staff is working remotely and remains available to assist you. Read a statement from APMA Executive Director and CEO James R. Christina, DPM, about the current status of APMA headquarters.