Knowledge Base Article
The COVID-19 PHE is Coming to an End
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The COVID-19 PHE is Coming to an End
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
In an August 18, 2022 special edition of MLN connects, CMS sounded the call for providers to begin to prepare hospitals for operations after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) comes to an end.
Some five months later, On January 30, 2023, the Biden administration communicated their intent to end the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023, noting that “This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE.”
CMS was quick to follow-up on this announcement and on February 1, 2023, they posted an update to the coronavirus waivers & flexibilities CMS webpage:
- “Update: On Thursday, December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law H.R. 2716, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) for Fiscal Year 2023. This legislation provides more than $1.7 trillion to fund various aspects of the federal government, including an extension of the major telehealth waivers and the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCaH) individual waiver that were initiated during the federal public health emergency (PHE).
- Additionally, on January 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced its intent to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations on May 11, 2023, related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- CMS is committed to updating supporting resources and providing updates as soon as possible. Please continue to use the provider-specific fact sheets for information about COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) waivers and flexibilities.” Note, all provider-specific fact sheets were recently updated on February 1, 2023 and include information about the status of waivers when the PHE ends, for example:
Fact Sheet: Physicians and Other Clinicians: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19
- Medicare Telehealth: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 provides for an extension for some of the flexibilities through December 31, 2024. However, when the PHE ends Clinicians must once again have an established relationship with the patient prior to providing remote patient monitoring (RPM).
- Reducing Administrative Burden: “Stark Law” waivers: When the PHE ends, all Stark Law waivers will terminate, and physicians and entities must immediately comply with all provisions of the Stark Law.
- National Coverage Determinations (NCDs) for Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Closure, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement and Ventricular Assist Devices: CMS has not enforced the procedural volume requirements contained in these four NCDs for facilities and providers that, prior to the public health emergency for COVID-19, met the volume requirements. This enforcement discretion ensures that beneficiaries continue to have access to the services that are covered under these NCDs. This waiver will end at the conclusion of the PHE.
Fact Sheet: Hospitals and CAHs (including Swing Beds, DPUs), ASCs and CMHCs: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19
- Enhanced Medicare Payments for New COVID-19 Treatments: Hospital Inpatient Stays: Immediately following the end of the PHE, effective for discharges occurring on or after November 2, 2020, and through the end of the FY in which the COVID-19 PHE ends, the Medicare program has provided an enhanced payment for eligible inpatient cases that involve use of certain new products authorized or approved to treat COVID-19 (86 FR 45162). The enhanced payment is equal to the lesser of 1) 65% of the operating outlier threshold for the claim; or 2) 65% of the costs of the case beyond the operating Medicare payment (including the 20% add-on payment under section 3710 of the CARES Act) for eligible cases.
- Separate Medicare Payment for New COVID-19 Treatments: Hospital Outpatient Departments: CMS has excluded FDA-authorized or approved drugs and biologicals (including blood products) authorized or approved to treat COVID-19 (and for which the FDA authorization or approval does not limit use to the inpatient setting) from being packaged into the Comprehensive Ambulatory Payment Classification (C-APC) payment when these treatments are billed on the same claim as a primary C-APC service. Instead, Medicare has been paying for these drugs and biologicals separately for the duration of the PHE. After the PHE, payment for these treatments will be packaged into the payment for a C-APC when these services are billed on the same outpatient claim.
- Utilization Review: CMS has been waiving the entire Utilization Review Conditions of Participation (CoP) at §482.30 as “removing these administrative requirements allows hospitals to focus more resources on providing direct patient care.” This waiver will end at the conclusion of the PHE.
I have provided only a select few examples of what will happen when the PHE ends and encourage you to check for updates to the provider-specific fact sheets often as you develop a plan for your hospital beyond the end of the COVID-19 PHE.
- August 18, 2022 MLN Connects: https://www.cms.gov/outreach-and-educationoutreachffsprovpartprogprovider-partnership-email-archive/2022-08-18-mlnc-se
- January 30, 2023 Office of Management and Budget Statement of Administration Policy: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/SAP-H.R.-382-H.J.-Res.-7.pdf
- CMS Coronavirus waivers & flexibilities webpage: https://www.cms.gov/coronavirus-waivers
This material was compiled to share information. MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.
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