The Brunini firm has great admiration for our clients in the Healthcare Industry. Hospitals, clinics and other providers are challenged with maintaining an increased level of preparedness to address the rising COVID-19 pandemic, while managing a substantial reduction in revenues brought on by the economic impact of social distancing. At Brunini, we are actively engaged to support our healthcare clients in navigating the complex healthcare regulatory landscape and staying on top of the latest regulatory guidance related to COVID-19 and the CARES Act signed by the President on Friday, March 27, 2020.
In recent days, federal and state healthcare regulatory agencies have been issuing helpful guidance and rule changes. Some of the more significant guidance includes:
- Expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payments Program for Providers and Suppliers During COVID-19 Emergency: Fact Sheet: Expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for Providers and Supplies During COVID-19 Emergency
- Exceptions and Extensions to Quality Reporting and Value Based Purchasing Programs: Exceptions and Extensions for Quality Reporting Requirements
- Medicare Coverage and Payment for COVID-19 Related Medicine: Coverage and Payment Related to COVID-19 Medicare
- Expansion of Telemedicine – Medicare, Medicaid and Private Insurance: Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet; Medicaid State Plan Fee-for-Service Payments for Services Delivered Via Telehealth; FAQs on Availability and Usage of Telehealth Services through Private Health Insurance Coverage in Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- HIPAA Guidance related to COVID-19: HIPAA, Civil Rights, and COVID-19
- EMTALA Requirements and COVID-19: Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Quality, Safety and Oversight Group
- Provider Enrollment Guidance: Hurricane Michael Provides Enrollment Relief Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Guidance for Rural Providers: Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The CARES Act includes much in the way of assisting the Hospitals and other providers in addressing COVID-19. Significantly, the CARES Act provides for increased funding for Healthcare Providers and encourages and supports the expansion of Telehealth Networks.
The CARES ACT Provides for Increased funding:
- Provides $29 million for grant programs for Telehealth networks and resource centers,
- Provides $79.5 million in grant programs for rural healthcare services outreach, rural health network development and small healthcare providers.
- Limits liability to volunteer healthcare professionals during COVID-19 emergency response
- Suspends the 2% Medicare sequester until December 31, 2020;
- Provides a 20% add-on payment to hospitals for treatment of inpatient COVID-19 cases through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency;
- Expands the Medicare Accelerated Payment Program
Expansion of Telehealth:
- Permits FQHCs and Rural Health clinics to furnish Telehealth services to Medicare patients in their homes;
- During the COVID-19 Emergency Period, waives the face-to face requirement for home dialysis and hospice recertifications.
- Permits high deductible plans with a health savings account to cover Telehealth services prior to a patient reaching deductible limits.