On March 13, 2020, following President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS announced its approval of the first Section 1135 Waiver aimed at addressing the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Florida. On March 19, CMS granted a Section 1135 Waiver to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington state. On March 23, CMS announced the approval of 11 additional Section 1135 Waivers to help combat the pandemic, bringing the total to 13 states. These state-specific waivers grant additional flexibility, such as reduced hurdles for provider enrollment in Medicaid, and are in addition to the blanket waivers published by CMS on March 13, and the liability immunity issued by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on March 17.
Below is a list of currently approved Waivers, with links to each state’s specific Section 1135 Waiver approval:
- Florida (March 13, 2020)
- Washington (March 19, 2020)
- Alabama (March 23, 2020)
- Arizona (March 23, 2020)
- California (March 23, 2020)
- Illinois (March 23, 2020)
- Louisiana (March 23, 2020)
- Mississippi (March 23, 2020)
- New Hampshire (March 23, 2020)
- New Jersey (March 23, 2020)
- New Mexico (March 23, 2020)
- North Carolina (March 23, 2020)
- Virginia (March 23, 2020)
CMS has indicated that state waiver requests are being processed and approved within a few days of submission. States may submit requests using the published template, which includes a checklist of requirements it seeks to waive, as well as space to make waiver requests unique to each state in dealing with the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Individual providers seeking 1135 waivers may find the template instructive as well.
Most of the recent emergency measures approved by CMS and State Medicaid Agencies are granted for services provided through the termination of the public health emergency period (as declared by Secretary Azar).
Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers will continue to monitor waiver activities pertinent to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide updates in the Health Law Pulse. We can also provide additional support with regard to the evolving state-specific responses to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency.