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AAPM&R members: Even more resources are being shared between physiatrists in our Care in the Time of COVID-19 member forum on PhyzForum. Exchange important dialogue about your challenges, ask your questions and concerns as well as share resources with each other.

Regulation Changes

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation a national emergency, enabling the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to waive certain requirements in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP under section 1135 emergency authority. These waivers provide relief on a number of fronts, such as prior authorization and provider enrollment requirements, suspending certain nursing home pre-admission reviews, facilitating reimbursement to providers for care delivered in alternative settings due to facility evacuations, and more.

AAPM&R has been collecting the resources below that will help you as a provider to better understand what these waivers mean. We are continuing to advocate for requirements to be waived until the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

 

AAPM&R Advocacy Partnerships and Collaborations

  • July 14: AAPM&R and AMRPA Congressional Briefing—Meeting the Medical Rehabilitation Needs of COVID-19 Patients
    • View the recording here (password is 3F*^81vg) and the presentation slides.
    • Congress has been primarily focused on keeping COVID patients alive, but hasn’t moved on to considering what happens to patients after they survive. Many of these patients are still struggling with potentially long-term difficulties. This briefing talked about the federal policies that have been helpful to PM&R, asks of Congress to ensure rehabilitation can continue providing care to COVID-19 patients, and advice for future pandemics.
  • March 18: AAPM&R sent a letter to CMS seeking additional waivers on regulations relevant to the IRF, SNF, and PAC settings as well as guidance pertaining to outpatient care including telemedicine provisions.


Updates from Other Organizations

  • April 1: The Paycheck Protection Program authorizes forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees, their rent, and other operational costs during the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • March 18:
    • Federal relief packages have been approved (and one in progress) to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Find key information regarding the status, summary of key provisions, and other relevant information here.
    • Insurance companies are responding to COVID-19 by adjusting coverage including changes to prior authorization, copays, telemedicine coverage, and beyond. AHIP is tracking these changes on a payer-by-payer basis on their website.
  • March 13: President Trump declared a national emergency in response to COVID-19, which has important implications for Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), and other patient care settings. CMS states in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 3 "The Secretary of Health and Human Services can declare a Public Health Emergency under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act or another appropriate statute, and the President can declare either a National Emergency under the National Emergencies Act or a Major Disaster under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, or other appropriate law. In accordance with such declarations, certain regulations or operational policies may be waived in specific geographic areas for limited and defined periods of time. If applicable, in accordance with the waiver provisions, the IRF may be permitted to admit patients (referred to in this section as national emergency or disaster inpatients) who otherwise would be admitted to another inpatient setting.”

If you can't find what you need or would like additional support, we're here to help. Contact us at (847) 737-6000 or email covidresponse@aapmr.org.

*Note: For all content created by Hart Health Strategies, a Washington D.C.-based firm that provides federal regulatory/quality advocacy support services to complement initiatives and efforts of AAPM&R. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of AAPM&R.