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Administration Issues Second Round of Sweeping Changes to Support U.S. Healthcare System During COVID-19 Pandemic


Posted on: 5/1/2020

On Thursday, April 30, the Trump Administration issued another round of sweeping changes to support the U.S. healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of these changes impact our ACMA members, their organizations, and the patients and families they serve. Some highlights are below. Visit the CMS Waivers Website >>> for a complete list of waivers. If you have questions on a topic or are confused about the implementation of these changes, utilize the learning link and lean on our network of 9,000 health care professionals. We learn together!


Increased Hospital Capacity – CMS Hospitals Without Walls

Under the Hospitals Without Walls initiative. CMS has taken multiple steps to allow hospitals to provide services in other healthcare facilities and sites that are not part of the existing hospital, and to set up temporary expansion sites to help address patient needs. Previously, hospitals were required to provide services within their existing departments.

This includes flexibilities to increase beds without facing reduced payments for indirect medical education, allowing inpatient psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities to admit more patients, excepting certain requirements to enable inpatient rehab facilities to accept patients from acute-care hospitals experience a surge, highlight flexibilities that allow payment for outpatient hospital services, allowing provider-based hospital outpatient departments that relocate off-campus to obtain a temporary exception and continue to be paid under OPPS and allowing long-term acute-care hospitals to accept any acute-care hospital patients and be paid at a higher Medicare payment rate as mandated by the CARES Act.

Healthcare Workforce Augmentation

To bolster the U.S. healthcare workforce amid the pandemic, CMS continues to remove barriers for hiring and retaining physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to keep staffing levels high at hospitals, health clinics, and other facilities. CMS also is cutting red tape so that health professionals can concentrate on the highest-level work they’re licensed for.

This allows nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants to now provide home health services as mandated by the CARES Act. CMS is also temporarily allowing Community Mental Health Centers to offer partial hospitalization and other mental health services to clients in the safety of their homes. CMS will not enforce certain clinical criteria in local coverage determinations that limit access to therapeutic glucose monitors for beneficiaries with diabetes.

Further Expanded Telehealth in Medicare

CMS directed a historic expansion of telehealth services so health care providers can deliver a wider range of care to Medicare beneficiaries in their homes. Beneficiaries thus don’t have to travel to a healthcare facility and risk exposure to COVID-19.

For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, CMS is waiving limitations on the types of clinical practitioners that furnish telehealth services including physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists.

Hospitals may bill as the originating site for telehealth services furnished by hospital-based practitioners to Medicare patients registered as hospital outpatients. CMS previously announced that Medicare would pay for certain services conducted by audio-only telephone between beneficiaries and their doctors and other clinicians. Now, CMS is broadening that list to include many behavioral health and patient education services. CMS is also increasing payments for these telephone visits to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits.

As mandated by the CARES Act, CMS is paying for Medicare telehealth services provided by rural health clinics and federally qualified health clinics. Previously, these clinics could not be paid to provide telehealth expertise as “distant sites.” Now, Medicare beneficiaries located in rural and other medically underserved areas will have more options to access care from their home without having to travel.

Since some Medicare beneficiaries don’t have access to interactive audio-video technology that is required for Medicare telehealth services or choose not to use it even if offered by their practitioner, CMS is waiving the video requirement for certain telephone evaluation and management services, and adding them to the list of Medicare telehealth services. As a result, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to use an audio-only telephone to get these services.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and our ACMA advocacy firm Lobbyit contributed to this information.

Read the complete list of COVID-19 Blanket Waivers >>>

Read the CMS Hospital Flexibilities >>>

Read the Press Release >>>

Return to Legislative Postings

Announcements

ACMA National Office Has Moved

The home address of the ACMA National Office has changed. Our new physical address is 40 Rahling Circle, Little Rock, AR 72223. All phone and email contact information remain the same. Read the announcement >>>

ACMA COVID-19 Resource Center

ACMA is committed to keeping you informed about our actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay up to date via the ACMA COVID-19 Resource Center where you will find helpful information, members-only resources and guidance for case management and transitions of care specific to this evolving situation. We encourage you to visit the resource center and to lean on ACMA as your trusted source during this time of uncertainty. Thank you for your work in your communities and for all you are doing to address this pandemic. Access ACMA COVID-19 Resource Center >>>

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ACMA has launched a new special issue of "Collaborative Case Management," a peer-reviewed journal exclusively for members. Inside, industry partners from across the country share their insights into battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts provide you with tools, resources, ideas and experiences covering all aspects of the continuum of care. Not a member of ACMA? We've still got you covered. This special issue is free to download to provide you a sampling of all that ACMA membership has to offer. Read it Today! >>>

Watch Sessions & Earn Continuing Education Credits

Get your CEs by participating in the 2020 ACMA Virtual National Conference to meet your license or ACM, CMAC and CCM renewal needs. Up to 28.8 contact hours are available for RNs and SWs. ACM, CMAC and CCMs earn up to 24.0 recertification credits. AMA PRA Category 1 Credits also available. Preview Sessions >>> | Register Here >>>

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Compass Mid-Year Course Release

Compass has just released a new course, Case Management Emergency Preparedness, which was developed to support and train case management staff and leadership on essential aspects of emergency preparedness, including lessons-learned with COVID-19 case studies. Current compass users can simply log-in to your dashboard to access the new course. If you're not a Compass subscriber, learn more about the product.>>>

Validate Your Expertise Through Professional Certification

The Accredited Case Manager (ACM) Certification is for health care delivery system case management professionals and tests core case management knowledge that is shared by nurse and social work case managers. Case Management Administrator Certification (CMAC) validates the competency of case management administrators, managers and aspiring leaders and promotes professional practice standards. If you are not yet certified, we encourage you to apply and enhance your professional practice by putting a credential after your name. The application deadline is November 15 in order to test in January-March 2021. ACM >>> CMAC >>>

American Case Management Association
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Phone: 501-907-ACMA (2262)
Fax: 501-227-4247