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Knowledge Portal > Conquer COVID-19 > COVID-19 News > Posts > 5/12/20 - Operations Update
May 12
5/12/20 - Operations Update

Welcome to the MAY 12, 2020 update on UW Ob-Gyn departmental operations. 


In the midst of our current, rapidly-changing situation, perfectionism can be a liability. Read more about the necessity of nimbleness in emergency management, from the Harvard Business Review: Perfectionism Will Slow You Down in a Crisis



The Ambulatory Billing Guide out on the COVID-19 hub on U-connect (for both Providers and Coding Staff) has been updated to reflect the recent changes from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) on April 30th, 2020.

Here is a high-level overview of the changes found in this document: Ambulatory Remote Visit Documentation and Billing

CMS announced a number of changes in the Interim Final Rule released on April 30 in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs, Basic Health Program, and Exchanges; Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Delay of Certain Reporting Requirements for the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program and COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers.

Some of the key changes that will have a positive effect on UW Health include:

  1. Audio only E&M visits (phone codes 99441-99443) will be reimbursed at rates equal to the established patient codes (99212-99214). We still use the phone call codes and follow those documentation rules. Please remember to always accurately document the service you are providing (hx, exam (if any), MDM) as well as the time spent on the phone with the patient. Phone call services that result in the patient needing to be seen in person for a visit or procedure within the next 24 hours or soonest available appointment are not separately billed. Please select code 05105 to close the encounter in these situations.
  2. Non face to face codes can be added to telephone call codes. 99358 is for the first hour and can only be billed when at least 31 minutes of prolonged service has been provided in addition to the highest level phone E/M (99443 – 30 minutes). Therefore, a provider would need to spend at least 61 minutes on the phone with the patient in order to bill the prolonged service.
  3. For those physicians working within the primary care exception, in addition to including all 5 levels of office visit codes, the phone call codes (99441-99443) have also been added to the list of acceptable services. Supervision can be done virtually.
  4. A number of codes were identified as being able to be provided using audio only. This means for these specific codes, we do not have to bill the phone codes but can bill the actual CPT code even if they are provided with only audio (phone).

Telehealth Tips:



  • Pearson VUE is cancelling half of all written board exam appointments for graduating residents and fellows; the Education team is hard at work on a possible solution to administer the exams here.


  • Tune in to the Virtual Department Meeting on Thursday, May 14 for two important presentations: UW Ob-Gyn Outreach Manager Melody Bockenfeld, MPH, BSN will present our Administrative Bounce-Back Plan. And Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD, of the UW SMPH Department of Medicine, will present a COVID Update. Watch via WebEx, 8:00am.


The UW-Madison Research and Sponsored Programs office has shared guidance for how furloughs affect sponsored programs. UW Ob-Gyn Research Manager Andrea Zorbas will be in touch with department researchers with more information, but you can read the RSP furlough FAQs in the meantime.


More information on the UW-Madison Furlough Policy is available in this presentation. You can also take a look at the UW-Madison Furlough FAQs​, and the FAQs from last week’s UW SMPH furlough webinars.

For the second year running, the annual Department Awards Ceremony, coming up on June 25, 2020, will include the new Support Staff Excellence Award! You can nominate your excellent colleagues by filling out this form and returning to Jenni Stevens by May 18, 2020.


Experiencing new pinches, aches and pains after several weeks of working from home? Take a look at these ergonomics tips for staying comfortable in less-than-ideal work environments: 

If possible, do the following:

  1. Work at a desk or table with adequate knee/foot clearance so you can sit/stand close to your laptop or computer.
  2. Use a separate keyboard and mouse with your laptop and position them directly in front of you within easy reach.   (No reaching for that mouse, bring it in closer)
  3. Position the screen so it is level with your eye height.  Use a box or books to raise the screen if necessary.   Look straight ahead- not down or sideways.
  4. Utilize house-hold items for extra support- such as a rolled-up hand towel for extra lower back support. 
  5. Sit with your elbows and knees at a 90-degree angle.  If your chair is too low, sit on a cushion or blanket to raise your seat height. 
  6. Maintain good working posture – ensure that the small of your back is supported, shoulders are relaxed.  
  7. Switch it up - change your posture/position and step away from the computer for micro-breaks.
  8. 10-Minute Stretching routine to counteract the affects of sitting for long periods of time.

UW Health Sports shared a quick video of stretches you can do at a desk, and you may also be interested in this CNBC article on “Cheap ways to make your work-from-home space more ergonomic and better for your back.”

Find more resources to support mental and physical resilience on the UW Ob-Gyn Wellness Committee resources page.

XO, Laurel

UW Health COVID-19 / UW-Madison COVID-19 Plans and Response / U.S. CDC / Wisconsin DHS


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