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Renewal of the Public Health Emergency Declaration

What Does This Mean for Long-Term Healthcare Providers?

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What Does This Mean for Long-Term Healthcare Providers?

In late July, just days before it was set to expire, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) officially renewed its public health emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Barring any additional action, the renewed declaration will now expire at the end of October.The extension of the public health emergency declaration is important (and welcome) news for America’s long-term healthcare providers, as it means that many of the 1,135 “blanket waivers” that were enacted when the emergency declaration was first made official will be extended for at least the next few months.

Here are a few of the blanket waivers that will be extended through the end of October:

Increased Federal Medicaid Match

As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the federal government enacted a nationwide, 6.2% increase to the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for skilled nursing centers and other long-term healthcare providers. This boost to the FMAP will remain in effect through the end of October.

Relaxations of Various Guidelines

Many of the waivers associated with the original public health emergency declaration aimed to add a level of flexibility to help long-term care providers navigate this crisis. Some of the requirements that were relaxed include: The rule requiring CNAs and other healthcare professionals to receive certification after four months of service time, and the rule mandating a three-day hospital stay as a precondition in order to qualify for nursing home coverage.

Expansion of Telehealth Services

For obvious reasons, telehealth has become a very popular option during this COVID-19 era. The renewal of the public health emergency declaration means the expansion of telehealth services (and the higher reimbursement rates that come with them) will be extended through October.

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It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been navigating the COVID-19 public health crisis for nearly six months at this point. New information related to this situation is continuing to develop every day. Our team at blumshapiro is working hard to keep you updated; visit our Coronavirus Resources page on our website for the latest information.

 

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