The spread of COVID-19 in the United States is requiring providers to consider difficult questions regarding resource allocation.   On March 26, 2020 Dr. Douglas White of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Critical Care Medicine and Dr. Scott Halpern of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine released Allocation of Scarce Critical Resources During a Public Health Emergency.  The guidance provides an allocation framework for “triage of critically ill patients in the event that a public health emergency creates demand for critical care resources (e.g. ventilators, critical care beds) that outstrips supply.”  The guidance is broken into three sections: (1) Creation of triage teams; (2) Allocation process for ICU admission/ventilation; and (3) Reassessment for ongoing provision of critical care/ventilation.  The allocation framework has been endorsed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the “recommended allocation framework for all Pennsylvania hospitals”.

On March 25, Aetna announced that it will waive co-pays and cost-sharing for COVID-19 inpatient hospitalizations at in-network facilities  in order to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for patients.  A March 25 blog post from America’s Health Insurance Plans has a list of insurers that have made accommodations for the testing and treatment of COVID-19.

Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys will continue to provide relevant updates on the Health Law Pulse for healthcare facilities and professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak.