COVID-19 regulatory updates — August 21

By AOA Staff


COVID-19 regulatory updates from the last week include a new resource for rural healthcare and new policies for inpatient and long-term care hospitals, and rehab facilities.

New COVID-19 resource for rural healthcare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) has released a Rural Crosswalk: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19. This new resource documents all current COVID-19-related waivers and flexibilities issued by CMS that impact Rural Health Clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Critical Access Hospitals, rural hospitals generally, and long term care facilities, and describes the significance of each provision for these rural providers and facilities.

New COVID-19 policies for inpatient and long-term care hospitals, and rehab facilities

CMS released guidance for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 admitted to an inpatient or long-term care hospital, or rehabilitation facility on or after September 1, 2020, to comply with provisions of the CARES Act to allows for a 20% payment increase. Eligible claims must have a positive COVID-19 laboratory test ICD-10 code (B97.29 or U07.1) documented in the patient’s medical record.

Certain children’s hospitals will receive Provider Relief Funds

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $1.4 billion will be allocated to 80 free-standing children’s hospitals through the Provider Relief Fund. As the healthcare system continues to grapple with the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), children’s hospitals have been uniquely impacted. This distribution is targeted for children’s hospitals that are not affiliated with larger hospital systems. Qualifying free-standing children’s hospital must either be an exempt hospital under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) or be a HRSA defined Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education facility. Eligible hospitals will receive 2.5 percent of their net revenue from patient care starting next week.

CMS to resume all inspections of Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers

CMS will resume all routine inspections for Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers. CMS previously suspended non-urgent inspections to prioritize infection surveys during the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize infection control and immediate jeopardy situations, and to give health care providers and suppliers time to respond to the spread of the virus. 

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls 

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and healthcare systems to Increase Hospital Capacity, Rapidly Expand the Healthcare Workforce, Put Patients Over Paperwork; and Further Promote Telehealth in Medicare. Next week’s Office Hours Call is Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 5 – 6 p.m., ET.