On April 2, 2020, at the direction of the president, CMS issued additional guidance [https://go.cms.gov/2V1QBdM] regarding the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 in the country’s nursing facilities. The guidance was apparently issued in response to recent onsite observations by CMS and CDC experts in nursing facilities. In short, the guidance addresses five key issues: Continue Reading CMS Releases Guidance to Nursing Facilities at President’s Request

Change is fast-paced in the world of COVID-19. On Monday, March 30th, CMS released an interim final rule along with hospice specific waivers. In this episode, your Hospice Team discusses these recent developments and their impact on telehealth, face-to-face encounters, virtual visits and Medicare appeals and audits.

For resources related to this episode, please see the following:

physiciansRecent clarifications by Arizona state officials seemingly relaxed restrictions for certain physician practices adhering to the March 21, 2020 executive order prohibiting all non-essential or elective surgeries.  Such direction from the governor’s office should give physician groups much needed relief in continuing certain elective procedures, such as those related to pain management services, in outpatient settings. Continue Reading Arizona Physician Practices Should Exercise Discretion in Continuing Elective Procedures in Clinics and Outpatient Treatment Centers

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) goes into effect today, April 1, 2020, and applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.  The FFCRA expands certain medical leave rights previously established by the Family and Medical Leave Act (“E-FMLA”) to provide up to twelve (12) weeks of paid, job-protected leave for employees with school closure or childcare coverage issues related to the current coronavirus pandemic.  The FFCRA also provides for two (2) weeks of paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“E-PSLA”) for certain COVID-19-related reasons (the E-FMLA and E-PSLA are collectively referred to as “Expanded Leave”).[1]  However, employers who employ “health care providers” may, but are not required to, exempt these individuals from Expanded Leave.  Most, if not all, of a hospice’s employees will fall within the broad definition of “health care provider.”  Therefore, hospices will need to evaluate who of its employees it will exempt or not, being certain to treat similarly situated employees equally and to consider the potential impact to its workforce. Continue Reading COVID-19 Hospice How-To Series: Application of the FFCRA “Health Care Provider” Exemption to Hospices

Within the vision space there has been some question regarding the authority of Texas Optometry Board (“TOB”) over retailers of ophthalmic goods and optometrists that are in business with or employed by a physician licensed by the Texas Medical Board. On March 30, 2020, the Texas Attorney General published an opinion that may impact retailers of ophthalmic goods and optometrists that are in business with or employed by a physician licensed by the Texas Medical Board (“TMB”). Ophthalmology practices should review the opinion to determine whether changes to their business relationships with optometrists are necessary. Continue Reading Texas Attorney General Opinion KP-0297 Has Big Implications for Ophthalmologist/Optometrist Relationships

Updated Thursday, April 2, 2020

CMS 1135 waivers allow the U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services Secretary to temporarily waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Policy (CHIP), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements to ensure that sufficient health care items and services are available to meet needs during a declared public health emergency.  Individual health care providers and associations may trigger additional waivers through feedback and requests to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response or CMS Regional Offices. Continue Reading COVID-19 Update: Kansas 1135 Waivers and State Flexibilities

Updated Thursday, April 2, 2020

CMS 1135 waivers allow the U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services Secretary to temporarily waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Policy (CHIP), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements to ensure that sufficient health care items and services are available to meet needs during a declared public health emergency.  Individual health care providers and associations may trigger additional waivers through feedback and requests to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response or CMS Regional Offices. Continue Reading COVID-19 Update: Missouri 1135 Waivers and State Flexibilities

Updated April 3, 2020

In response to the growing Coronavirus pandemic, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) will make loans available to businesses that employ fewer than 500 people (and in certain instances a larger number of employees) through the new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). In this post we address some of the most frequently-asked questions about the PPP, and how eligible healthcare entities can apply. Continue Reading The Time to Act is Now: Small Business Administration Loans to Healthcare Organizations

On March 24, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) prepared correspondence to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeking waivers of certain Medicaid requirements pursuant to Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1320b-5) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The correspondence to CMS was shared on March 24, 2020 with the Wisconsin Legislature Joint Committee on Finance seeking their approval to submit the Section 1135 Waiver to CMS. The letter to CMS prepared by DHS states that Wisconsin is implementing all the blanket waivers issued by CMS on March 13, 2020 in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to the extent applicable. Continue Reading Wisconsin DHS requests authority to seek additional Medicaid Waivers from CMS

At Husch Blackwell we understand the financial hardships our healthcare industry clients face in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While you have no doubt heard about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020, we want to make sure you are aware of the estimated $377 billion in Small Business Administration (“SBA”) relief that may be available to you as an eligible small business. We encourage you to act immediately so that you may secure funding as quickly as possible. Continue Reading The Small Business CARES Act Guide for Those Who Provide Care (Hint: There Are Good Loan Options)