New COVID-19 recommendations issued by CMS late last week state, “Medicare is now covering COVID-19 testing when furnished to eligible beneficiaries by certified laboratories. These laboratories may also choose to enter facilities to conduct COVID-19 testing.” The Interim Final Rule released on March 30 includes an increased specimen draw fee for Medicare-enrolled labs for testing related to COVID-19. (4/6/20)
NASL, the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality & Innovation (APTQI), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the National Association of Rehabilitation Providers & Agencies (NARA) asked Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to utilize their new authority under Section 3703 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to issue a blanket waiver expanding the types of providers eligible to furnish telehealth services under Medicare so as to include physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants and speech language pathologists during the COVID-19 public health emergency. (4/2/20)
CMS has posted an update of the PDPM DLL Package (V1.0004 FINAL). This update adds support for the new ICD-10-CM code for Coronavirus, U07.1, which takes effect today. Please note that this code is ONLY in effect for assessments with target date of April 1, 2020 and later. The package contains updated test files and documentation. In addition, CMS updated the ICD-10-CM to Clinical Category Mapping for PDPM. The updated file is available on the PDPM webpage. Download the file marked, FY 2020 PDPM ICD-10 Mappings (ZIP) (revision posted 03-31-2020). (4/1/20)
Late yesterday, CMS released Medicare & Medicaid Programs; Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Interim Final Rule with Comment Period, containing numerous provisions on telehealth and Communication Technology-Based Services (CTBS) such as check-ins and virtual visits that are in a separate category than telehealth. It also contains lab specimen draw fee changes and advance payment changes.
- Review the Interim Final Rule here.
- Review providers specific Fact Sheets here.
CMS Suspends Pre- & Post-Payment Medical Reviews (e.g., Targeted Probe & Educate (TPE)) (3/31/20)
Novitas, which is the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for Jurisdictions JH & JL, was the first MAC to post a notice announcing that it has suspended Targeted Probe & Educate activities until further notice, pursuant to CMS’ direction due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Access Novitas’ TPE posts:
- Novitas post for Jurisdiction JH – Providers in AR, CO, LA, MS, NM, OK, TX, Indian Health & Veteran Affairs
- Novitas post for Jurisdiction JL – Providers in DC, DE, MD, NJ & PA
President Trump on Friday signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). A section-by-section summary is available to NASL members. (3/30/20)
CMS notified health information technology vendors that it intends to delay implementing MDS 3.0 v. 1.18.1, which would remove Section G items from the OBRA assessments. CMS cites feedback from stakeholders in explaining the delay. MDS 3.0 v1.18.1 Implementation had been scheduled for October 1, 2020. (3/19/20)
CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers in the wake of the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. CMS has released a Virtual Toolkit to help you stay up-to-date on CMS materials available on COVID-19. (3/17/20)
Late Friday night CMS released revised nursing home guidance announced yesterday by the President and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. The guidance memo says facilities should restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation. The guidance does now contain an exception to restrictions for health care workers. This exception is:
Health care workers: Facilities should follow CDC guidelines for restricting access to health care workers found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/prevent-spread-in-long-term-care-facilities.html. This also applies to other health care workers, such as hospice workers, EMS personnel, or dialysis technicians, that provide care to residents. They should be permitted to come into the facility as long as they meet the CDC guidelines for health care workers. Facilities should contact their local health department for questions, and frequently review the CDC website dedicated to COVID-19 for health care professionals (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html). (3/17/20)
HHS today released the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's (ONC's) Cures Act Final Rule that implements interoperability provisions of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act and promotes patients' access to their health record. ONC has a website dedicated to the final rule with overview information and detailed fact sheets. This website will be updated on a regular basis with additional resources. NASL is currently reviewing the final rule and will have its summary to members shortly. (3/9/20)
COVID-19 Guidance: The CDC has a page dedicated to long term care facilities. We understand the information is being updated daily, so check their website regularly:
The Society for Post-Acute and Long Term Care Medicine (AMDA) has posted their guidance here https://paltc.org/covid-19
The American Health Care Association has sent out at least two communications to their members and has an information page found here: https://www.ahcancal.org/facility_operations/disaster_planning/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
NASL has established a webpage of information on the Coronavirus COVID-19 for NASL members here: http://nasl.mymemberfuse.com/groups/profile/view/groupid/9849