CMS Proclaims Sweeping Regulatory Adjustments Because of the Increase in COVID-19 Patients

by | Apr 1, 2020 | Compliance News

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that there is going to be some sweeping regulatory modifications and waivers to provide the most versatility to medical professionals when caring for patients throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. The latest modifications will permit healthcare providers to work as medical care delivery coordinators in their zones.

The non-permanent changes to remove constraints are supposed to establish hospitals and health systems with no walls. Consequently, hospitals and health systems will have less trouble dealing with a likely substantial increase in COVID-19 patients during the coming days.

Under standard situations, federal constraints require hospitals to deliver healthcare services inside their established facilities, however, this won’t be feasible with a rise in patient numbers. With the number of COVID-19 cases growing bigger, hospitals will subsequently fill up their capacity. If they don’t have added sites to treat patients, they are going to be overloaded.

To make certain that all patients could be given treatment and nobody is left behind, the CMS has laid-back constraints and gave interim new guidelines that would permit the giving of treatment in other areas. Numerous ambulatory surgery facilities have opted to call off elective treatments for the period of the public health emergency. Hospitals and health systems will be authorized to utilize those areas including inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, as well as hotels and dormitories, and would still be entitled to obtain a refund for services with Medicare. The new areas may be utilized to give healthcare services to non-COVID-19 patients to provide inpatient beds for COVID-19 patients that must have intensive treatment and respirators.

The CMS stated that ambulatory surgery facilities have two choices.

  • They could either agree with community healthcare systems to deliver services on behalf of the healthcare facility
  • They may enroll and charge CMS being hospitals during the public health emergency proclamation if that is not conflicting with their State’s Emergency Preparedness or Pandemic Strategy.

Healthcare companies won’t be authorized to operate beyond established plans at the community level.

To further maximize capacity, the CMS has made a waiver that will let doctor-owned medical centers to get more beds without facing penalties. Hospitals are allowed to create drive-through screening stations for COVID-19, make use of off-campus testing centers, and coverage will be granted to lab techs who have to go to a Medicare beneficiary’s residence to acquire samples to conduct COVID-19 testing. CMS is giving added reimbursement for ambulances, which are probably needed to transport patients between healthcare centers and doctor’s surgeries to make certain they acquire the necessary treatment. Medicare coverage for respiratory-linked instruments and machines has currently been prolonged to cover any health reason.

Modifications were likewise made to assist in the fast expansion of healthcare employees. These changes involve making Medicare enrollment less difficult for providers and enabling teaching hospitals to permit medical residents to offer services with the oversight of a teaching doctor. The CMS has furthermore granted a blanket waiver to enable hospitals to deliver more benefits to assist their medical personnel, including several everyday meals, laundry service for their own clothes, or child care services during the time the doctors and other workforce are at the healthcare facility offering patient care.

Transformations were additionally made to lessen the administration load on healthcare workers with the CMS giving patients more value than paperwork by removal of paperwork requirements to make sure that doctors have more hours for caring for patients.

The CMS has already said that there’s more freedom for the accessibility of telehealth services, with refunds now being given for all Medicare beneficiaries in all places. Coverage is presently included for around 80 additional services made available via telehealth, provided those services are delivered by doctors allowed to deliver telehealth services.

These latest changes and waivers are just temporary and in effect throughout the national public health emergency for COVID-19, and then the CMS will review how to fully go back to the existing system.

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