Federal and State Waivers Help Providers Expand Care for Coronavirus Patients

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Cross Country Locums
March 17, 2020 06:48 AM (GMT-04:00)
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The Trump Administration declared a National State of Emergency on March 16, 2020, in response to the growing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

This emergency declaration allows for regulatory flexibility and empowers Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to take proactive measures on the national level which will help providers deliver care for patients with coronavirus. Through this declaration, HHS and CMS leaders can also encourage states to do everything possible to limit any barriers to healthcare professionals seeing patients and providing care.

In a recent CMS press release, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “It is vital that federal requirements designed for periods of relative calm do not hinder measures needed in an emergency. The nationwide waivers we are activating today will be a godsend for those on the frontlines of the fight against this new virus.”

1135 Waivers

Through the emergency declaration, CMS has been empowered to take proactive steps through 1135 waivers and to rapidly expand the administration’s efforts against COVID-19. The COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Health Care Providers Fact Sheet and CMS Action Press Release provide an overview of the waivers. Here’s a look at two of the waivers that may affect you if you’re a locums provider.

Waivers that Affect Locums Providers

At Cross Country Locums, we are closely following two waivers in particular: the state licensure waiver and the Medicare/Medicaid provider enrollment waiver.

State Licensure Waiver

According to CMS, states may “temporarily waive requirements that physicians and other health care professionals be licensed in the state in which they are providing services, so long as they have an equivalent licensing in another state.”

If you are a provider who is willing to help across state lines during the coronavirus outbreak, this waiver may open the door for you.

Medicare/Medicaid Provider Enrollment Waiver

Also according to CMS: “CMS will temporarily suspend certain Medicare enrollment screening requirements including site visits and fingerprinting for non-certified Part B suppliers, physicians and non-physician practitioners. In addition, CMS will allow licensed providers to render services outside their state of enrollment. CMS will also establish a toll-free hotline for providers to enroll and receive temporary Medicare billing privileges.”

This waiver is designed to help you enroll as a health care provider more quickly and easily, again, expanding your ability to care for patients.

An Evolving Situation

Of course, as this is a very fluid situation, we’ll be watching developments closely. This regulatory flexibility does allow you to expand your reach as a provider. Consider where and how you want to help, and take care. contact us.

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