CMS COVID-19: NEWS ALERT April 13, 2020


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April 13, 2020


Here is a summary of recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) actions taken in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19, click here For information specific to CMS, please visit the CMS News Room and Current Emergencies Website. CMS updates these resources on an ongoing basis throughout the day; the information below is current as of April 13, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

Trump Administration Acts to Ensure U.S. Healthcare Facilities Can Maximize Frontline Workforces to Confront COVID-19 Crisis

CMS temporarily suspended a number of rules so that hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities can boost their frontline medical staffs as they fight to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes affect doctors, nurses, and other clinicians nationwide, and focus on reducing supervision and certification requirements so that practitioners can be hired quickly and perform work to the fullest extent of their licenses. The changes will ensure that healthcare facilities across the nation can expand their staffs and organize them in the most efficient way possible to handle the incoming surge of COVID-19 patients.   

Press Release

Fact Sheet

Trump Administration Announces Expanded Coverage for Essential Diagnostic Services Amid COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

CMS, together with the Departments of Labor and the Treasury, issued guidance to ensure Americans with private health insurance have coverage of COVID-19 diagnostic testing and certain other related services, including antibody testing, at no cost. This includes urgent care visits, emergency room visits, and in-person or telehealth visits to the doctor’s office that result in an order for or administration of a COVID-19 test. As part of the effort to slow the spread of the virus, this guidance is another action the Trump Administration is taking to remove financial barriers for Americans to receive necessary COVID-19 tests and health services, as well as encourage the use of antibody testing that may help to enable health care workers and other Americans to get back to work more quickly.

Press Release


Removal of Non-Invasive Ventilator Product Category from DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program

CMS is removing the non-invasive ventilator (NIV) product category from Round 2021 of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the President’s exercise of the Defense Production Act, public concern regarding access to ventilators, and the NIV product category being new to the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program.

DME Competitive Bidding Program

Applicability of Diagnoses from Telehealth Services for Risk Adjustment in Medicare Advantage

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgency to expand the use of virtual care to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. CMS is stating that Medicare Advantage Organizations and other organizations that submit diagnoses for risk adjusted payment are able to submit diagnoses for risk adjustment that are from telehealth visits when those visits meet all criteria for risk adjustment eligibility. It is important for enrollees in Medicare Advantage to be able to receive clinically appropriate services via telehealth, and CMS appreciates all the necessary steps Medicare Advantage Organizations are taking to help providers and members cope with the pandemic.


CMS Approves Additional State Medicaid Waivers and Amendments to Give States Flexibility to Address Coronavirus Pandemic

CMS approved its 50th COVID-19 Medicaid emergency waiver to Utah delivering urgent regulatory relief to ensure the State can quickly and effectively care for their most vulnerable citizens.  CMS also approved a COVID-19 related Medicaid Disaster Amendment that brings relief to Arizona.  These approvals help to ensure that states have the tools they need to combat COVID-19 through a wide variety of state plan flexibilities. CMS continues to authorize amendments to ensure emergency flexibilities in programs that care for the elderly and people with disabilities, including most recently in Georgia. These approved flexibilities support President Trump’s commitment to a COVID-19 response that is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.

All told, CMS has approved 50 emergency waivers, 27 state amendments, 8 COVID-related Medicaid Disaster Amendments and one CHIP COVID-related Disaster Amendment in record time. States are using a toolkit CMS developed to expedite the application and approval of Medicaid state waivers and State Plan Amendments. 

Medicaid State Plan Amendments

Section 1135 Waivers  

1915(c) Appendix K Waivers

CHIP State Plan Amendments


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