CMS used emergency waiver authorities and other regulatory processes to better enable providers to rapidly respond to individuals impacted by COVID-19. Currently, CMS is:
- Assessing the need for continuing certain blanket waivers based on current conditions and the planned end to the Public Health Emergency, and
- Assessing those flexibilities most important in any future public health emergency.
Administration of Vaccines
CMS will continue to pay approximately $40 per dose for administering COVID-19 vaccines in outpatient settings for Medicare beneficiaries through the end of the calendar year that the PHE ends. Effective January 1 of the year following the year that the PHE ends, CMS will set the payment rate for administering COVID-19 vaccines to align with the payment rate for administering other Part B preventive vaccines.
CMS also established an additional payment amount of approximately $35.50 per dose to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the home for certain Medicare patients. For vaccines requiring multiple doses, this payment applies for each dose in the series, including any additional or booster doses, and we geographically adjust the additional amount and administration rate based on where the provider or supplier administers the vaccine.
Telehealth and Telecommunications Technology
Home Health Agencies (HHAs) can provide more services to beneficiaries using telecommunications technology within the 30-day period of care, if it’s part of the patient’s plan of care and does not replace needed in-person visits as ordered on the plan of care.
Telecommunications technology can include, for example: remote patient monitoring; telephone calls (audio only and TTY); and two-way audio-video technology that allows for real-time interaction between the clinician and patient. However, only in-person visits can be reported on the home health claim. This provision is permanent beyond the COVID-19 PHE.
The required face-to-face encounter for home health can be conducted via telehealth (i.e., 2-way audio-video telecommunications technology that allows for real-time interaction between the physician/allowed practitioner and the patient) when the patient is at home. The face-to-face encounter can be conducted via telehealth irrespective of the COVID-19 PHE; however, the waiver will expire the first day after the 151st day following the end of the PHE.
Agencies need to remain keenly aware of changes occurring and those that will occur with the end of the COVID-19 PHE designation. Other information is available at Home Health Agencies: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19.
NAHC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (“NAHC”) will be holding the 2023 Financial Management Conference in New Orleans on July 16-18, 2023. We hope to see many of you at this event. Details as available are at https://www.nahc.org/meetings-education/.