The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a round of sweeping regulatory waivers and rule changes to deliver expanded care to the nation’s seniors and provide flexibility to the healthcare system as America reopens from covid-19 lockdowns. The changes include making it easier for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to get tested for covid-19, and continuing CMS’s efforts to expand beneficiaries’ access to telehealth services.
CMS is taking action to ensure that states and localities have the flexibility they need to ramp up diagnostic testing and access to medical care, key precursors to ensuring a phased, safe, and gradual reopening of America.
The agency’s actions are informed by requests from healthcare providers as well as by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. CMS’s goals during the pandemic are to:
- Expand the healthcare workforce by removing barriers for physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to be readily hired from the local community or other states.
- Ensure that local hospitals and health systems have the capacity to handle covid-19 patients through temporary expansion sites (also known as the CMS Hospital without Walls initiative).
- Increase access to telehealth for Medicare patients so they can get care from their physicians and other clinicians while staying safely at home.
- Expand at-home and community-based testing to minimize transmission of covid-19 among Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
- Put patients over paperwork by giving providers, healthcare facilities, Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, and states temporary relief from many reporting and audit requirements so they can focus on patient care.
Read more from CMS.