Thomas Dowdell (US)

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COVID-19 Update: CMS releases guide encouraging patients to seek in-person healthcare

On Tuesday, June 9, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a guide for patients who are considering their in-person care options following certain healthcare facilities re-opening for all medical services. As COVID-19 cases decline in some areas of the country, CMS created this guide to give patients recommendations, and to help … Continue reading

CMS Announces COVID-19 Adjustments for CMMI Models

On June 3, 2020, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) Administrator Seema Verma announced adjustments to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (“CMMI”) models in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Despite the accommodations being provided, Administrator Verma praised value-based incentives in a Health Affairs blog post, stating that “[t]hese models are … Continue reading

CMS Proposed Rule Includes Significant Changes to Medicare GME Funding

On May 11, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) proposed rule. We previously reported on the hospital IPPS and LTCH PPS proposed changes. See link here . In this rulemaking, … Continue reading

CMS Issues FY 2021 Hospital IPPS and LTCH PPS Proposed Rule

On May 11, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) proposed rule. Under the proposed rule Medicare IPPS payment rates would increase an estimated net 3.1 percent for hospitals that successfully … Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that the Federal Government “Shall” Pay Health Insurers $12 Billion Under the Risk Corridors Program

On Monday, April 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in an 8-1 decision, that the federal government is required to pay health insurers $12 billion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) risk corridors program. Background of the Case Congress in the ACA created three premium stabilization programs to support insurers during … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: HRSA holds a webinar on its COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal

On Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) held a webinar on its COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal. On the webinar, HRSA and UnitedHealth Group employees explained that providers can begin using the Portal to be reimbursed for COVID-19 testing or treatment that has been provided to uninsured individuals in the U.S. … Continue reading

CMS Issues Second Round of Regulatory Waivers and Rule Changes

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an additional round of regulatory waivers and rule changes to support the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The changes include new rules to expand COVID-19 diagnostic testing, increase care capacity and the healthcare workforce, and further promote telehealth services. Medicare no longer requires an … Continue reading

CMS Pauses Accelerated and Advanced Payments Programs

CMS announced on Sunday, April 26, that it is suspending payments under the Advanced Payments Program to Part B suppliers immediately and reevaluating payment amounts under the Accelerated Payment Program.  The Accelerated and Advanced Payments Programs enable Medicare providers and suppliers to receive advance Medicare payments and address cash flow issues during a disruption in … Continue reading

HHS Releases Information on Remaining CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Payments

On April 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (“HHS”) announced how the remaining $70 billion of CARES Act funds in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (“Relief Fund”) will be distributed.  HHS explained that $50 billion of the Relief Fund is allocated for general distribution.  Between April 10 and … Continue reading

Healthcare and Coronavirus Testing Funding in the $484 Billion Relief Package

On Tuesday, April 21, the U.S. Senate approved a $484 billion coronavirus relief package aimed at reviving the depleted loan program for small businesses and providing funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing.  The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the legislation as soon as Thursday morning. On top of the $100 billion allotted … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: CMS Issues Recommendations for Re-Opening Facilities for Non-Emergent Care

On Sunday April 19, 2020, CMS issued guidance for permitting non-emergent, non-COVID-19 healthcare in states that have passed the Gating Criteria provided in the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.  CMS reiterated support for telehealth, stating that “[m]aximum use of all telehealth modalities is strongly recommended.” Decisions should be” consistent with public health information and … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: CMS releases additional guidance to states on how the FFCRA and CARES Act provisions apply to Medicaid and CHIP

On Monday, April 13, 2020, CMS released an updated FAQ on the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) implementation, as well as new guidance on CMS’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act implementation. In these new resources, CMS explains the following changes, among others, to … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: CMS Issues Additional Waivers to Assist Providers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily suspended a number of rules to boost frontline medical staff at healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new waivers expand on the workforce flexibilities announced by CMS on March 30, 2020 (previously covered by the HL Pulse here).  The new waivers include: Physicians in Critical … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: HHS Releases Details of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

On Friday morning April 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released details regarding the first $30 billion in payments under the CARES Act.  The CARES Act provides a total of $100 billion in relief funds to providers “to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to ensure uninsured … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: CMS Issues Wide Ranging Blanket Waivers to Assist Providers

On Monday, March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued wide ranging blanket waivers and published an interim final rule intended to “equip the American healthcare system with maximum flexibility” to respond to COVID-19. The waivers will remain in effect until the end of the emergency declaration. CMS issued a summary … Continue reading

COVID-19 update: CMS publishes fact sheet describing process for providers and suppliers seeking CARES Act Medicare accelerated and advance payments

On March 28, 2020, CMS released guidance related to the expanded accelerated and advance payments provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27. These payments are typically available when there is a disruption in claims submission or claims processing, and are offered in … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: Senate Unanimously Passes Emergency Stimulus Package

The United States Senate has passed a $2 trillion phase three emergency package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  The Senate approved the CARES Act on a unanimous vote of 96-0, with three Senators in self-quarantine and another returning home out of an abundance of caution.  The CARES Act, assuming it … Continue reading

AHA seeks clarification from HHS regarding EMTALA and HIPAA waivers

In a letter dated March 25, 2020, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has requested that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) consider clarification for waivers relating to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HHS recently published two waivers specific to EMTALA … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: CDC publishes criteria for when healthcare professionals with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 can return to work

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim guidance on criteria that can be used to determine whether a healthcare professional with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 should return to work. The CDC states that this criteria can be further “adapted by state and local health … Continue reading

Senate COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Stimulus Legislation Stalls, House Democrats Introduce Competing Bill

On Monday evening, March 23, the Senate COVID-19 (coronavirus) stimulus package remained stalled.  A procedural vote to advance the Senate bill Monday afternoon failed and negotiations remain ongoing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a Democratic coronavirus stimulus plan in response to the Senate bill including more robust relief for individuals and providers and more targeted … Continue reading

CMS Announces Relief on Quality Reporting Program Measures Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

On March 22, CMS announced that for providers participating in quality reporting programs the agency is granting extensions on reporting deadlines and allowing the omission of certain time periods for most program reporting. CMS released a programmatic chart explaining the relief granted considering the “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of particular … Continue reading

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: CMS Announces Targeted Plan for Facility Inspections – Infection Control and Immediate Jeopardy

On March 23rd, 2020, CMS announced a newly “enhanced, focused inspection process” to be implemented nationally in light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and released guidance to state survey agency directors.  Standard and Revisit Inspections for nursing homes, hospitals, home health agencies, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and hospices will not be … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: FDA will use enforcement discretion for limited ventilator modifications

On March 22, 2020, the FDA released guidance describing an enforcement policy that will help increase the availability of ventilators and accessories, as well as other respiratory devices, during the COVID-19 pandemic.  FDA’s guidance would permit “limited modifications to the indications, claims, functionality, or to the hardware, software, or materials of FDA-cleared devices used to … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: Phase Three Stimulus Legislation Stalls on Sunday Afternoon

The Phase Three Senate Republican stimulus legislation released Sunday afternoon (March 22), H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), would provide aid for small businesses, industries and families impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, including direct cash payments for Americans, as well as $75 billion for coronavirus response payments to … Continue reading
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