Wednesday August 25, 2021
CMS Releases Waivers for COVID-19
March 31, 2020: Emergency declaration waivers related to flexibility on treatment location and telehealth, the physician self-referral law, workforce and administrative activities
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday released a substantial number of new waivers related to COVID-19. The waivers apply nationwide and are retroactive to March 1, 2020. They include waivers:
- Allowing hospitals to establish additional treatment locations;
- Expanding access to telehealth;
- Removing self-referral barriers to responding to COVID-19;
- Designed to allow for additional workforce capacity; and
- Eliminating certain administrative requirements.
Our Take: In a statement, AHA said, CMS’s hospitals without walls approach and emergency declaration is a critical lifeline in the fight against COVID-19. These tools will help ensure hospitals and health systems can provide the right treatment for patients in the right location. This includes providing care in non-traditional settings, remotely through telehealth and in appropriate outpatient facilities through easing of the Stark Law. CMS is also supporting the doctors, nurses and other caregivers on the front lines by increasing our ability to provide meals, laundry services and childcare for hospital and health system staff. The new waivers will allow hospitals to take care of the first responders who are taking care of us and our communities. Moreover, clinicians will be allowed to work across state lines, which will help to augment and relieve health care workers. We are very appreciative that CMS took quick and effective action, which provides much-needed relief for hospitals during this unprecedented time, including in rural areas served by critical access hospitals. We will continue to work on additional waiver suggestions to address additional areas that will equip us to have the flexibility to take timely and decisive action in serving our patients and communities.
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