What We're Reading: Olympics Postponed; ASCO Advocates for Support; AHIP Waives Transfer Requirements

March 24, 2020

The International Olympic Committee postpones the 2020 games slated for this summer; the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) urges Congress for increased protection and support for medical practices; AHIP will allow its member payers to transfer patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from hospitals to other clinical settings, if appropriate, without prior authorization.

IOC, Japan Postpone Tokyo Olympics

As reported in The New York Times, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan announced Tuesday that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will postpone the Summer Games that had been scheduled to begin in Tokyo this July. The move comes after months of internal discussions and increased pressure from nations and athletes worldwide to reschedule the event amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. The event will now take place in the summer of 2021.

ASCO Urges Congress for Increased Protective Equipment, Practice Support

AHIP Says Its Payers Can Allow Swift Patient Transfers

In a letter issued by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the organization urged the White House and Congress to work together to meet the needs of patients and healthcare professionals in response to the COVID-19 crisis. ASCO says 5 things need immediate action: increasing the availability of testing for patients and providers, increasing the availability of personal protective equipment, supporting physician practices to ensure uninterrupted patient access to care, supporting the use of telehealth, and implementing policies to address drug shortages.AHIP, a membership organization of health insurance providers, said its board of directors will allow hospitals and health systems to simplify and accelerate the transfer and discharge of patients who who have COVID-19 (or are presumed positive) from overwhelmed hospitals to other sites of care, such as home health, long-term acute care hospitals, or nursing homes, if clinically appropriate, without prior authorization. The organization also will match Medicare waivers to facilitate access to post-acute care. The moves are intended to help overwhelmed facilities increase capacity.