CMS Issues Flexibilities for Hospice Providers - Since the HHS Secretary Azar’s declaration of the public health emergency on January 31, 2020, NHPCO has been working to ensure that the needs of hospice providers are taken into consideration as regulatory flexibilities are considered. When CMS issued the first set of 1135 blanket waivers on March 13, 2020, hospice providers were not listed. NHPCO met with CMS staff to review the concerns of hospice providers throughout the country and requested clarity in some of the most difficult regulatory requirements. At the same time, NHPCO worked with state leaders and providers to engage in the 1135 waiver process as part of the Hospice Action Network’s multi-faceted advocacy plan that resulted in CMS granting several blanket Medicare waivers.
On March 30, 2020, the following 1135 blanket waivers were issued by CMS for hospice:
Requirement that hospices are required to use volunteers, including the 5% of patient care hours requirement.
Update of the comprehensive assessment timeframe has been extended from 15 to 21 days.
Certain non-core hospice services do not need to be provided, including: Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, Speech-language pathology
Nurse is not required to conduct an onsite supervisory visit of the nurse aide every two weeks.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, clinicians are increasingly turning to telehealth. A summary of the Telehealth Fee_For-Service (FFS) services is included in the link below. Your intermediary may be able to answer any other questions.