Medicare guidelines have been expanded once again.
For healthcare professionals everywhere, new waivers from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will provide more tools for continuing care during this ongoing pandemic. These guidelines go into effect without requiring a waiver request to CMS and apply for the duration of the emergency declaration. As the industry works to flatten the curve, these new guidelines will bring much-needed relief to an already burdened healthcare community. The waiver expands options for these industries:
- Ambulatory Surgery Centers
- Emergency Medical Services
- Inpatient Rehabilitation
- Post-Acute Care
- Temporary Treatment Facilities
Expanding the Fight
This waiver, introduced on March 30th, 2020, will allow healthcare providers to rethink how they combat COVID-19 and provide benefits to frontline workers as case numbers continue to grow. As of this posting, the United States has the most infections in the world.
By allowing more services to be relocated from hospitals to other facilities, such as hotels, dormitories, and ambulatory surgery centers, non-infected patients can be distanced from the frontlines of the pandemic, and more room can be made for those who need it.
All services performed in temporary facilities and those that take place virtually can be billed at the same hospital rate to CMS.
Additionally, CMS is implementing more benefits for frontline workers. These include daily meals, laundry services, and child care for those actively engaging with patients. However, the greatest beneficiaries of the new guidelines are hospitals. They are now allowed to contract EMS services, home health agencies, and hire out-of-state nurses, in order to address immediate workforce needs.
More time has been given for hospitals to provide patients with a copy of their medical records, and current paperwork requirements, waiving documentation requests along with extending deadlines for reporting to CMS. Considering some physicians can spend up to 49.2% of their day just inputting EHR details or other paperwork, this allows them to direct more time toward patient interactions.
For telehealth services, health systems can bill for services “outside their four walls”, keeping the same rates as in-person services. This expands those services for current patients and new patients to a health system and creates an environment for more video visits, along with audio-only interactions.
Not only does this cover telehealth visits with patients at their homes, but those being housed in temporary facilities such as dorms, hotels, and other post-acute care facilities as well.
Providers will now be able to facilitate remote care and monitoring of non-infected, immunocompromised patients without risking exposure. In addition, allowing physicians to supervise their clinical staff virtually when appropriate.
Home Health Workers
For post-acute and home health/hospice workers, nurses no longer have to conduct an on-site visitation every two weeks. This effectively waives the requirement for home and face-to-face visits - except for those whose care plan requires it. Options can include basic phone calls and video conferencing visits; covering patients as part of long term care, hospice, and home health.
Overall, there is a focus on expanding telehealth options for patients during the ongoing pandemic. These new waivers can provide some relief for hard-working professionals who face COVID-19 on a daily basis. By pushing for technology to provide another barrier of protection that can greatly improve the wellbeing of medical professionals throughout the nation.
Healthcare entities looking to implement a telehealth solution in hours not weeks can contact us for more information about our secure, appless, Virtual Visits. More than 10K visits per day already occur on our platform, bridging the gap between patients and providers across the US.
As more patients seek care and information, QliqSOFT's Virtual Visits can help limit exposure with a telemedicine solution. Connect with our clinical success specialists and see how your organization can quickly provide Virtual Visits to your patients!