An Interim Final Rule with comment (IFC) -- announced by CMS on March 30 -- will offer hospitals and health systems increased flexibility and a series of critical waivers during the COVID-19 crisis. The regulatory changes will temporarily relax certain conditions of participation or payment in order to allow billing of Medicare services in non-traditional locations, expanded use of telehealth in a number of settings, and alternatives to in-person assessments and direct physician supervision of other qualified medical personnel.
THE IFC includes provisions that will help manage patient volumes and triage patients so that the critically ill are separated from non-critical COVID patients and those with chronic conditions. Among other benefits, the waivers allow for:
- Increased hospital capacity by providing services in alternative clinical and non-clinical locations, performing testing at homes or community centers, and offering screening offsite or via telemedicine.
- An expanded workforce, by removing barriers to using physicians assistants and nurse practitioners from the community to provide certain services.
- Relief from many audit and reporting requirements, so that providers can focus on patient care.
- Coverage of more than 80 additional telehealth services at the same rates as in-person visits.
For more details on what the Interim Final Rule means for your organization, please read the Center for Healthcare Regulatory Insight’s related piece by accessing it here.