March 27, 2020

Your Gastroenterology
COVID-19 Update

  • Ohio: Governor Signs Relief Bill

  • Federal: President Gets Stimulus Package

  • Top 5 Things to Know About Telehealth

  • Use of Ventilators

Governor Signs Coronavirus-Related Bill

Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday signed an emergency package containing a host of provisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These provisions will remain in place until the conclusion of the state emergency or December 1, 2020.

Among the measures in House Bill 197 pertaining to healthcare, the state Medicaid director can seek support for physicians and medical practices suffering significant financial losses due to fewer patient visits and recent nursing graduates can obtain temporary licenses to practice prior to passing a licensure exam.

The bill also allows certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) to order and administer tests, drugs and fluids during the pre-op and post-op time periods pursuant to a facility’s protocol and with approval of the supervising physician. This change will remain permanent in law beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

Other measures in HB 197 address child care services, education, taxes, primary elections, and public and governmental services.


Federal: COVID-19 Stimulus Package

President Trump is expected to soon sign a massive $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package that will contain $130 billion for healthcare. Items in the package of particular interest for physicians, medical practices and hospitals, include:

  • Small Business Administration loans of up to $10 million to help cover payroll and overhead costs, with expanded loan forgiveness criteria, for practices with up to 500 employees.

  • $100 billion to reimburse hospitals, physician practices, and other health care providers for costs related to treating COVID-19 patients and the financial impact of lost revenue due to reductions in other services as a result of the pandemic.

  • Waiving of telehealth coverage requirements for new patients during a national emergency; previous legislation allowed flexibility only for established patients.

Many key details, such as, how the reimbursement support will be disbursed, are still to be determined. This information will be updated next week.


Top 5 Things To Know About Telehealth

In our previous communications, we shared that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Ohio Department of Medicaid and the state Medical Board of Ohio had all agreed to relax rules related to telehealth. The goal is to allow physicians to continue to seeing as many patients as possible while helping to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) have developed a guide to help our gastroenterologists to navigate new rules.

Top Five Things Gastroenterologists Should Know About Telehealth


Guidance for Using Ventilators, Respiratory Devices

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided guidance to expand the availability of ventilators and other respiratory devices and accessories.



You have a voice in this crisis. Please contact OGS Director Reginald Fields to share your experience with how this crisis is impacting you and your ability to practice medicine and to pose any questions you would like to have answered. We’ll continue to provide COVID-19 updates several times each week via email and on the OGS website. Thank you.

Stay Current on the Latest Updates

OGS 10-year logo