Thursday, March 19, 2020

COVID-19 Updates

CMS waives state licensure requirements for physicians and recommends hospitals to suspend elective procedures

Becker’s Hospital Review reports that on March 18, CMS waived licensure requirements for physicians and other healthcare professionals allowing them to provide services in states where they are not formally licensed. With the number of U.S. cases now surpassing 7,000, CMS has recommended that all hospitals comply with the American College of Surgeons’ guidance to cancel elective procedures. The Pentagon has immediately taken action and provided the first million of five million respirator masks to federal health agencies. In addition to respirator masks, 2,000 ventilators will be provided in days to come. In the wake of urgency, President Trump has asked Congress to pass a stimulus package that would include $250 billion to Americans affected by this pandemic. HIPAA penalties will not be enforced, allowing healthcare practitioners to communicate with patients by phone.

FSMB is keeping an updated chart of the states waiving licensure requirements and renewals in the wake of the COVID-19 virus.

The Joint Commission Suspends Regular Surveys

The Joint Commission has suspended regular accreditation and certification surveys beginning March 16, 2020 to enable healthcare organizations to respond to COVID-19. The Joint Commission will administer a small number of situational surveys and report on them soon. The Commission will extend healthcare organizations’ accreditation without penalty if the renewal date passes while the surveys are suspended.

Read more from The Joint Commission

CMS Expands Medicare Telehealth Services to Fight COVID-19

The Trump Administration announced the expansion of telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries to combat the COVID-19 virus. As of March 6, Medicare-funded healthcare professionals and hospitals can provide temporary telehealth services to beneficiaries. Telehealth visits will reflect the same reimbursement rate as in-person visits. These services will also apply to nursing homes and outpatient departments. To facilitate telehealth services, HHS will temporarily suspend some HIPAA requirements, so healthcare practitioners can use their personal devices for telehealth services. Since state Medicaid agencies do not require federal permission, the Administration has requested that states implement telehealth services as well. CMS released a Telehealth Fact Sheet and FAQ Sheet providing guidance for healthcare providers on the telehealth waiver in the Supplemental Appropriations package. Officials hope that the expanding telehealth services will slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more here

NAMSS is monitoring the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and is committed to serving you and the medical service profession. Useful resources and information can be viewed here

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