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ACOG COVID-19 Panel: What Obstetrician–Gynecologists Need to Know about the Pandemic
During the 2020 ACOG Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, April 25, we covered ACOG's progress over the past year; honored those who have served ACOG and celebrated outstanding contributors; and virtually participated in the induction of national officers, including Eva Chalas, MD, who was inducted as the 71st ACOG president. The meeting also included a panel of six experts who covered a range of topics related to COVID-19, including women, pregnancy, and physician practice.
See what was discussed and watch the videos on demand:
- COVID-19 and Women and Pregnancy: Denise Jamieson, MPD, MPH, provided an update on COVID-19 in pregnancy that condensed into one helpful presentation much of the information that has come out as the pandemic developed. Among other points, Dr. Jamieson related that there is no evidence of increased risk of pregnancy loss or birth defects in patients who have COVID-19, and while preterm and low birth weights have been reported in babies born to patients with COVID-19 it is unclear if these effects are related to the virus.
- Best Practices for Telehealth: Nathaniel DeNicola, MD, MSHP, presented on telehealth best practices, differences between synchronous and asynchronous telemedicine, and the fact that the sudden prevalence of and reliance on telehealth is likely not temporary. Given that 40% of visits currently being conducted are not related to COVID-19, Dr. DeNicola predicts a future of blended models of in-person and telehealth visits for many practices.
- Billing, Coding, and Reimbursement in the Era of COVID: Gregory DeMeo, DO, discussed coding and documentation during COVID-19. Dr. DeMeo reviewed the appropriate procedure and diagnostic codes for use with patient encounters involving patients with suspected or documented COVID-19. He strongly recommended visiting your Medicaid and private payers’ websites, reading payer communications, or contacting your insurers to be sure that you understand coverage and specific instructions during this time.
- Ambulatory and Inpatient Considerations and Challenges: Michael Nimaroff, MD, reviewed ambulatory and inpatient considerations and challenges and stressed the importance of communication and transparency, particularly staying current, consistent, and calm in all interactions and making a point to provide factual information. Dr. Nimaroff also underlined the importance of institutional support for obstetric care and labor and delivery units and the staff who perform important duties in these areas.
- Strategies for the Perinatal Period, L&D, and Postpartum: Burt Rochelson, MD, presented on strategies for the perinatal period, labor and delivery, and postpartum, wherein he stressed the importance of reducing the number of in-person patient visits and encounters in the office or hospital, reducing the number of patient visits overall, and creating custom solutions that work for your setting with staff safety chief in mind.
- Advocacy in the Time of COVID-19: Shelby Friedman, ACOG’s political and grassroots advocacy manager, spoke about ACOG’s advocacy efforts during and around the pandemic, covering our work to establish long-term reforms and address new issues while still working to address established issues that are now highlighted by the pandemic. She also covered our work to support our frontline physicians, especially around PPE.
This COVID-19 panel is part of our ongoing effort to create and provide resources for our members and their patients. Visit our COVID-19 resource center for further resources including physician and patient FAQs, resources to implement telehealth, and practice management information.