Health Care E-lert: Key Developments at the Federal and State Level to Address COVID-19

When a national emergency is declared by the President, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is authorized under Section 1135 to waive certain requirements that apply to the provision of  Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Under Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership the state of Florida was the first state to submit a Section 1135 waiver request which was approved within days by CMS. The approval letter grants Florida with some key flexibilities under Medicaid program, which otherwise presented problematic barriers to providing needed care during this COVID-19 public health emergency. All Florida health care providers are encouraged to read the CMS approval letter to understand what flexibilities are now available to Florida Medicaid provider to alleviate burdensome requirements which might otherwise hinder the provider’s ability to respond.

Telehealth options have  been expanded for Medicare beneficiaries in response to COVID-19. Key flexibilities added are relaxing of the prior physician/patient relationship requirement and allowing for different types of technologies, including telephones, to be utilized to provide the services in certain circumstances. A distinction is drawn for reimbursement between types of Medicare services from (i) a Telehealth Visit (requires video telecommunications system), to (ii) a Virtual Check-in (can be by telephone) to (iii) E-Visits (using online patient portal).

To read the fact sheet on this announcement, click here.

To read the FAQ on this announcement, click here.

Rupa Lloyd
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