Blanket Regulatory Waivers Issued by CMS Amidst COVID-19 Crisis

Following the national emergency declaration on Friday, CMS has issued blanket waivers that apply to all Medicare-certified providers. These waivers relax specific restrictions under the CoPs and other regulations. Highlights from the waivers are summarized below.

  • Critical Access Hospitals:
    • Waives 25-bed limitation – CAHs with capacity may treat more patients
    • Waives 96-hour length of stay limit
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities:
    • Waives 3-day prior hospitalization requirement for coverage
    • Authorizes renewed SNF coverage without having to start new benefit period
  • Distinct Part Units:
    • Allows providers to place acute care inpatients within DPUs, where such beds are appropriate
    • Allows providers to place psych or rehab DPU patients within short term acute beds as a result of disaster or emergency
    • Waiver of requirements for existing and prospective IRFs to exclude patients for purposes of 60% rule
  • Long-term Acute Care Hospitals:
    • Allows LTACHs to exclude any admission or discharge related to the demands of the emergency from the 25-day average LOS requirement
  • Location of Providers:  
    • For both Medicare and Medicaid, waives requirement that out-of-state providers be licensed in the state where they are providing services when they are licensed in another state
  • Durable Medical Equipment:
    • Relaxes standards related to DMEPOS that is lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged or otherwise rendered unusable

As a reminder, providers may also submit specific waiver requests to their CMS RO and state agency. Please contact Advis for any assistance with submitting these specific requests. We are available throughout the weekend in addition to our normal business hours.

Published: March 16, 2020