Below are this week’s COVID-19 HHS and CMS updates.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline for health care providers to attest to receipt of payments allocated from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, and accept the Terms and Conditions. Providers will now have 45 days, instead of 30 days, from the date they receive a payment and agree to the terms and conditions or return the funds. The initial 30-day deadline for providers who received payment on April 10, 2020, is extended from May 9 to May 24, 2020. With the extension, not returning the payment within 45 days of receipt of payment will be viewed as acceptance of the terms and conditions.
During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an unprecedented number of waivers and flexibilities to ensure frontline health care providers and medical facilities have the capacity to treat patients. Following publication of the April 30 COVID-19 Interim Final Rule, CMS updated multiple fact sheets that summarize the changes made through regulatory actions for physicians, hospitals and facilities, and other CMS programs and providers.
CMS recently relaxed billing requirements for laboratory tests during the COVID-19 PHE. Any health care provider authorized under state law may order tests for COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). If the order is written, the referring professional’s National Provider Identifier (NPI) must be included, consistent with current billing guidelines. Medicare will also pay for tests without a written order from the treating physician or other qualified health care professional. If an order is not written, the ordering or referring NPI is not required on the claim. Medicare has provided a list of codes for which a written order is not required during the PHE.
CMS released a new video to provide answers to frequently asked questions about expanded Medicare telehealth services authorized for use during the COVID-19 PHE and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
CMS released new frequently asked questions (FAQs) to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their response to COVID-19. The new FAQs cover a variety of Medicaid and CHIP topics, including emergency preparedness and response, benefit, financing, eligibility and enrollment flexibilities, information technology, and data reporting.