To better address the needs of patients during the COVID-19 PHE, hospices can provide telehealth services to patients receiving routine home care if feasible and appropriate. Additionally, face-to-face encounters can now be conducted by telehealth.
Effective March 1, 2020 and until further notice, Hospices can report the costs of telecommunications technology used to furnish services under the routine home care level of care during the PHE for the COVID-19 pandemic as “other patient care services” using Worksheet A-2, cost center line 46, or a subscript of line 46 through 46.19, cost center code 4600 through 4619, and identifying this cost center as “PHE for COVID-19”. Hospices need to document all telehealth costs in the accounting records beginning with March 1, 2020.
It is noteworthy that telehealth costs can be used to justify Provider Relief Funds provided by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Other COVID-19 Costs – In addition to the telehealth costs, hospices should be separately identifying other COVID-19 PHE costs for appropriate cost report treatment, as well as submitting such expenses as uses of the Provider Relief Funds in required quarterly reporting. These expenses need to be segregated, but accounted for like other costs, including but not limited to the following:
- Salaries and wages by type of personnel, i.e. Administrative, RN, aide, etc.,
- Contracted staff, by type of contractor,
- Professional services, i.e. consulting, special accounting,
- Incremental costs:
- Protective equipment,
- Other medical supplies, and
- Special projects and efforts.
CMS SUSPENDS FURTHER ACCELERATED PAYMENTS
Inasmuch as healthcare providers have received and continue to receive Provider Relief Payments as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately.
CMS will not be accepting any new applications for the Advance Payment Program, and CMS will be reevaluating all pending and new applications for Accelerated Payments in light of historical direct payments made available through the Department of Health & Human Services’ (“HHS”) Provider Relief Fund.
Information regarding the expansion of the accelerated and advance payments program is available here.
Repayment of any accelerated payments will begin 120 days after the date that such funds were received and will be recovered within 210 days of the date of receipt.