COVID-19 Legal Guidance for Healthcare Professionals and Healthcare Providers in Minnesota
Last update 1.3.2022
Legal guidance for healthcare professionals and businesses operating in Minnesota. Contact Holt law for clarification on these resources to apply your situation to the law.
Required for most Businesses: COVID-19 Preparedness Plans for Critical Sector businesses
For other industries and businesses, the General Guidance for All Businesses should be sufficient for writing and developing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Minnesota OSHA is also prepared to assist any business with the development of their COVID-19 Preparedness Plans – if you need help, you can contact MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation at 651-284-5060 or OSHA.firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Minnesota Department of Human Services – COVID-19 Legal Changes to Telemedicine and Programs
- Behavioral Health Telemedicine Waivers
- Minnesota Health Care Programs Provider Manual – COVID-19 (includes telemedicine changes)
- Until further notice, Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) is temporarily expanding coverage of telemedicine visits.These changes are effective April 1, 2020:
- Providers can provide services virtually via telephone when providers determine it is safe and effective to do so. This coverage change applies to MHCP members in fee-for-service programs.
- The current limitation of three telemedicine encounters per week will be suspended.
- MHCP will cover evaluation and management services provided via telephone using the telephone services CPT codes. Follow CPT guidelines for use of 99441, 99442 and 99443.
- In delivering telemedicine, the distant site (provider’s location) can be the eligible provider’s home. The originating site (member’s location) can be delivered to members while they are in their home.
- Providers with current telemedicine assurance statements on file may begin providing telephonic telemedicine immediately.
- Providers without a telemedicine assurance statement must submit the Telephonic Telemedicine Provider Assurance Statement (DHS-6806A) (PDF) before providing telemedicine services.
- Billing Telemedicine. Providers who had an approved telemedicine assurance statement prior to April 1, 2020, and have a TD specialty code on their provider file, should continue to bill with place of service 02 for telemedicine. New telemedicine providers on or after April 1, 2020: Do not bill place of service 02 at this time. We are finalizing system edits to recognize this place of service. Effective April 1, 2020, Federally Qualified Health Center and Rural Health Clinic telemedicine services (including telephonic) will be included for the purposes of the face-to-face encounter payment methodology. Any service when provided face-to-face that would generate an encounter will continue to generate an encounter if provided via telemedicine, provided it meets all telemedicine requirements.
- Until further notice, Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) is temporarily expanding coverage of telemedicine visits.These changes are effective April 1, 2020:
- Temporary expansion of remote support for HCBS waiver services. As of May 4, 2020, the DHS commissioner will allow remote support (real-time, two-way communication) temporarily as a service delivery option for several waiver services. Remote support may be delivered through phone or other interactive technology medium.
2. Federal Law Changes – COVID-19; HIPAA, Medicare
- HHS Waiving Penalties for certain HIPAA violations. Effective immediately, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will exercise enforcement discretion and waive penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients in good faith through everyday communications technologies, such as FaceTime or Skype, during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
- Medicare/CMS Telehealth Rules Effective for services starting March 6, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Medicare will make payment for Medicare telehealth services furnished to patients in broader circumstances. This includes expanding the definition of originating site to include professional services furnished in all eligible health care settings, and in the patient’s residence. Temporary guidelines expanding the technology that can be used to furnish an eligible telehealth service.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program
- Summary of Program: Congress authorized a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that covers those who do not qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits, such as independent contractors and self-employed people. The program was authorized but must be created by the states, so Minnesota must build out this program before it can be implemented. More information will be available soon, however it could be several weeks before payments begin.
- Why this might make sense for you: If you are an independent contractor or self-employed person who would not typically be eligible for unemployment benefits, but you have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. LOANS AND GRANTS AND FINANCIAL RELIEF
- SBA Disaster Loans – Federal. COVID-19 – Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Variable Interest Rates and pay back terms.
- SBA Debt Relief
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- SBA will pay the principal, interest and fees to banks on behalf of businesses for current SBA loans and new loans issued up until September 27, 2020. Businesses should ask their lender for this relief.
- Note: This includes SBA export financing programs (i.e. EWCP, Export Express, and the International Trade Loan)
- For existing SBA Disaster Loans (home and business), payments of these loans have been automatically deferred by the SBA. For more information, visit their SBA Debt Relief page or contact your local office.
4. Employment Guidance
- Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s “worker protections” – A summary of FMLA, sick leave, unemployment insurance.
- Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry – Frequently asked questions for employers and employees related to COVID-19
- Minnesota Council – Society of Human Resource Management (MNSHRM) – Resources for HR professionals (login required).
- U.S. Department of Labor guide to FMLA in public health emergencies
- Employer Guide on Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs from the U.S Chamber of Commerce
- Workers’ compensation coverage for employees who contract COVID-19 – An FAQ from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
- DEED Unemployment Insurance Statistics
- MNOSHA COVID-19 Compliance
- COVID-19 prevention best practices from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
- Minnesota Department of Health Request for Personal Protective Equipment Form
- Minnesota Department of Revenue updated tax guidance
- Minnesota Department of Revenue details on business tax changes – Details on the sales tax payment extension for eligible businesses and income tax filing and payment extensions.
- Minnesota Department of Commerce Licensing Unit guide – Information for Minnesota licensees, regulated entities and consumers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
- Department of Homeland Security announces flexibility in requirements related to Form I-9 compliance
6. Other Resources
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 factsheets, statistics and information. Health Questions for Patients and Staff: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903. This hotline is staffed by the MN Department of Health and will be operating from 7AM-7PM.
- Guidance for Congregate Living Settings to Assist Residents Requesting Camera Placement
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Page
- Updates to PCA Worker Test and Training Online DHS planned this update before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we decided to go forward with it because the changes: (1) Required minimal resources for DHS to complete the implementation; (2) Require no action from people who use services, workers, providers agencies or lead agencies; (3) Allow PCA workers to search for their own certificate without needing to contact DHS; (4) Include features that allow DHS to enroll new PCA workers faster
- Online job board helps workers and people with disabilities find each other. Direct Support Connect is a free, statewide resource. Anyone who wants to hire a support worker, establish a backup plan, or find employment as a PCA can get more information and create a profile at directsupportconnect.com.
- Reporting cases to the Minnesota Department of Health
- Reporting cases to MDH using REDCAP
- Contact phone number: 651-201-5414
- COVID-19 testing
- COVID-19 test at home
- Emergency staffing
- Residential providers have the option of requesting short-term emergency staffing if experiencing a staffing shortage due to COVID-19. To apply click here: http://edocs.mn.gov/forms/DHS-6818-ENG.
- Licensing and waiver information
- For program specific modifications to licensing requirements, COVID-19 Preparedness Plan guidance and optional templates, and other guidance, visit the DHS Licensing COVID-19 Webpage.
- For questions related to DHS licensing requirements or to request a program specific variance, please contact the MH/SUD/CRF Licensing Unit at email@example.com.
- Mitigation strategies
- COVID Cares offers free telephone support
Free telephone support 833-HERE4MN (833-437-3466), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week
The COVID Cares Support Service is a free telephone support service staffed by volunteer licensed mental health and substance use disorder personnel. The volunteers are available for 20-minute support calls to listen, share resources and tools, and talk with all Minnesotans experiencing stress.
The service started in April through a collaboration with volunteers from the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, the Minnesota Psychological Association, the Minnesota Black Psychologists, and Mental Health Minnesota. The free service is also accessible at FastTrackerMN.org where searchers can also find psychiatric and mental health services availability and real-time Substance Use Disorder Treatment program openings.
COVID Cares Support Service Information Links:
- COVID Cares Support Service Information for general information, links, etc.
- COVID Cares Support Service Schedule offers contact information for specific providers from 9am to 9pm every day of the week.
- www.FastTrackerMN.org is a free statewide search tool to find mental health resource availability and real-time SUD treatment program openings.
- PAL Psychiatric Assistance Line is a consultation service making psychiatric consultation available to primary care providers / prescribers weekdays 8am-6pm.
- Find more information online at the COVID Cares telephone support services webpage.
Disaster Mental and Behavioral Health and COVID-19
Mental health and behavioral health resources specific to COVID-19. Additional regular Disaster Mental/Behavioral Health resources may also apply.
COVID Cares Stress Phone Support Service. Any Minnesotan experiencing stress can call 833-HERE4MN (833-437-3466) for free telephone support from 9am to 9pm every day. The service is a collaboration with volunteers from the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, the Minnesota Psychological Association, the Minnesota Black Psychologists, and Mental Health Minnesota. The free service is also accessible at FastTrackerMN.org where searchers can also find psychiatric and mental health services availability and real-time Substance Use Disorder Treatment program openings.
- American Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center
Support for Frontline Workers. Call tollfree 833-492-0094 or Request a Call.
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline and Text to Talk line
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Crisis Text Line: Text “MN” to 741741
- Adult mental health crisis response phone numbers
Minnesota Mobile Mental Health Crisis Line Call: **CRISIS (**274747).
For landlines, see the directory for mental health crisis phone numbers in Minnesota by county
- Mental Health and Resiliency Tools for Health Care Workers: COVID-19
- Moral Injury in Healthcare Workers on the Frontlines of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak (PDF)
- Tips for Managing Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Wallet Card
- Tips for Healthcare Professionals: Coping with Stress and Compassion Fatigue
- Caring for Yourself in the Face of Difficult Work (PDF)
- First Responder Toolkit- COVID-19 Version (Beta)
- Self-Care and applying Psychological First Aid for COVID-19 Responders (YouTube: 13:56 minutes)
Provides the healthcare responder with just-in-time training on responder stress during COVID-19, and provides stress management strategies that should be implemented now to protect the our healthcare workforce.
- Psychological First Aid: A Minnesota Community Supported Model
MDH-U of MN School of Public Health collaboration. Five video series, with available CEUs.
- Psychological First Aid Part 1: Introduction to Psychological First Aid (YouTube: 6 min)
- Psychological First Aid Part 2: The Impact of Trauma (YouTube: 6 min)
- Psychological First Aid Part 3: Principles of Psychological First Aid (YouTube: 4 min)
- Psychological First Aid Parts 4 & 5: Techniques and the “Dos” and “Dont’s” of PFA (YouTube: 10 min)
- Psychological First Aid Part 6: Responder Self Care (3 min)
- COVID-19 Responder Self-Triage
Daily Responder Self Triage checklist provides a way to look at and assess your stress level over a week period.
- COVID-19 and Healthcare Responder Stress (PDF)
Healthcare responders are at higher than average risk for traumatic stress reactions because their work repeatedly exposes them to highly stressful situations.
- Self-Care Pocket Reference Guide for Emergency Response Deployment (PDF)
A guide for volunteer responders that includes pre- and post- deployment checklists and self-reflection activities. This resource was originally created for the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health, and is now produced by Wisconsin Department of Health.
- Tips for Health Care Practitioners and Responders: HELPING SURVIVORS COPE WITH GRIEF AFTER A DISASTER OR TRAUMATIC EVENT (PDF)
- Walter Reed Army Institute of Research – COVID-19 Leadership Checklist: Mitigating Team Stress (PDF)
- Walter Reed Army Institute of Research – COVIS-19 iCOVER-Med: Rapid Peer-Based Management of Acute Stress in Medical Teams (PDF)
- Walter Reed Army Institute of Research – COVID-19 Sleep Checklist: Healthcare Workers and First Responders (PDF)
Health Provider Resources
- Supporting Senior Mental Well-being in Congregate Living during COVID-19
- Are You Working to Help People Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Helping Personnel Who Experience Work Related Trauma Exposure (PDF)
- Managing Stress During A Crisis: A Guide for Supervisors (PDF)
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress – Prolonged Operations in Personal Protective Equipment During COVID-19: Recommendations for Workers and Managers (PDF)
- Managing Patient and Family Distress Associated with COVID-19: Tips for Healthcare Workers in Hospitals and Alternate Care Settings (PDF)
- Mitigate Absenteeism by Protecting Healthcare Workers’ Psychological Health and Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)
- Psychological Effects of Quarantine During the Coronavirus Outbreak: What Healthcare Providers Need to Know (PDF)
- Psychological Effects of Quarantine During the Coronavirus Outbreak: What Public Health Leaders Need to Know (PDF)
- SAMHSA Coronavirus Resources for Behavioral Health (mental health and substance abuse) Providers
- COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
- Find Your Happy Place: Tips To Reduce COVID-19 Stress (PDF)
- How Right Now Partner Toolkit (PDF)
- Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety
- Managing Stress and the Threat of COVID-19 (PDF)
Understand common stress reactions to increase your ability to cope during a public health emergency such as COVID-19.
- SAMHSA Behavioral Health Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation during an Infectious Disease Outbreak (PDF)
- Psychological First Aid & COVID-19: A Minnesota Community Support Model (PDF)
PowerPoint presentation about using Psychological First Aid for COVID-19.
Child and Parent Resources
- Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
NPR education reporter Cory Turner’s story about what kids want to know about coronavirus spurred creation of this comic.
- Trinka and Sam Fighting the Big Virus: Trinka, Sam and Littletown Work Together (PDF)
- The power of parenting during the Covid-19 pandemic: addressing fears and feelings from prior losses (PDF)
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Fact sheet
Provided by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource provided by the National Association of School Psychologists
- SAMHSA Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers, During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (PDF)
- Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Exposed to COVID-19 (PDF)
- Managing Family Conflict While Home During COVID-19: Intimate Partners (PDF)
- When Family Members are Hospitalized Due to COVID-19 (PDF)
- When a Loved One Dies from COVID-19 (PDF)
Mental Health Support Resources
- Support for People with Mental Illness Who Are Sick with COVID-19 (PDF)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) COVID-19 Information and Resources
- NHA: Living with Mental Illness during COVID-19 Outbreak– Preparing for your wellness
- TPT | NOW, the Minnesota Department of Health and WellShare International, funded though the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, partnered with trusted cultural organizations to answer your top questions on mental health and COVID-19. Stream them on the TPT | NOW Facebook Videos page: TPT Now.
- Coping with COVID: A Mental Health Resource: English (Video: 30 minute) |(Video: 90 second)
- Coping with COVID: A Mental Health Resource: Hmong (Video: 30 minute) | (Video: 90 second)
- Coping with COVID: A Mental Health Resource: Spanish (Video: 30 minute) | (Video: 90 second)
- Coping with COVID: A Mental Health Resource: Somali (Video: 30 minute) | (Video: 90 second)
- Is Anxiety On the Rise? Is This Feeling Normal? (YouTube: 1 minute 40 seconds)
The Minneapolis Youth Congress (MYC) developed this video because they felt it was important to discuss mental health in the open to help their peers who are looking for clarity.
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress – Coronavirus Preparedness & Response: Critical Elements for Business Planning (PDF)
- Tips for Work/Life Balance during COVID-19 (PDF)
A healthy work/life balance can help you navigate your way through COVID-19
- How Supervisors and Managers Can Support Staff during COVID-19 (PDF)
Traumatic stress reactions have an impact not only on the individual, but also on the agency as a whole
- Coping With Grief After Community Violence
- Community Violence: Reactions and Actions in Dangerous Times
- Restoring a Sense of Well-Being in Children After a Disaster
- Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Organizations Employing Community Violence Workers
- When Terrible Things Happen