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Insights in Seniors Housing & Care

By: Bill Kauffman  |  April 07, 2020

The Latest CMS Actions Taken for the Coronavirus Crisis

Regulatory Environment  |  Senior Housing  |  Skilled Nursing

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have taken numerous actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This blog is intended to capture the latest announcements from CMS. For prior CMS summaries please click here.

The following are the latest summaries and links to CMS for further details.

Expansion of CMS Accelerated and Advance Payment Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced an expansion of its accelerated and advance payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers, to ensure they have the resources needed to combat COVID-19. Accelerated and advance Medicare payments provide emergency funding and addresses cash flow issues based on historical payments when there is disruption in claims submission and/or claims processing. CMS is expanding the program for all Medicare providers throughout the country during the public health emergency related to COVID-19. The payments can be requested by hospitals, doctors, durable medical equipment suppliers and other Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers.

CMS Facility without Walls (Temporary Expansion Sites)

In an effort to ensure that local hospitals and health systems have the capacity to handle a potential surge of COVID-19 patients, CMS took action to allow temporary expansion sites (also known as CMS Hospital Without Walls). This means that a long-term care (LTC) facility can temporarily transfer its COVID-19 positive resident(s) to another facility. The facility that is transferring a resident does not have to issue a formal discharge in this situation because it will still be considered the provider and will bill Medicare. The facility transferring will then be responsible for reimbursing the other provider that accepted its resident(s) during the emergency period. This will help residents with COVID-19 by placing them into facilities that are prepared to care for them, which is consistent with recent CDC guidance. In addition, it will help residents without COVID-19 by placing them in facilities without other COVID-19 residents, which will mitigate the risk of spreading the virus.

CMS Issues Critical Recommendations

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations to state and local governments and long-term care facilities to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. CMS issued new guidance while highlighting that long-term care facilities are a critical component of America’s healthcare system and they are unique, as they serve as both healthcare providers and as full-time homes for some of the most vulnerable Americans. To address this spread, CMS is working with CDC to provide nursing homes with clear guidance on how they can keep their residents safe. The recommendations include the following:

  • Nursing homes should immediately ensure that they are complying with all CMS and CDC guidance related to infection control.
  • CMS urges state and local leaders to consider the needs of long-term care facilities with respect to supplies of PPE and COVID-19 tests.
  • Nursing homes should immediately implement symptom screening for all staff, residents, and visitors – including temperature checks.
  • Nursing homes should ensure all staff are using appropriate PPE when they are interacting with patients and residents, to the extent PPE is available and per CDC guidance on conservation of PPE.
  • To avoid transmission within nursing homes, facilities should use separate staffing teams for residents to the best of their ability, and the administration urges nursing homes to work with state and local leaders to designate separate facilities or units within a facility to separate COVID-19 negative residents from COVID-19 positive residents and individuals with unknown COVID-19 status.

About Bill Kauffman

Senior Principal Bill Kauffman works with the research team in providing research and analysis in various areas including sales transactions and skilled nursing. He has lead roles in creating new and enhanced products and implementation of new processes. Prior to joining NIC he worked at Shelter Development in investing/acquiring, financing, and asset management for over $1 billion in assets. He also had key roles in the value creation and strategic planning and analysis for over 65 entities. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the College of Business and Economics at Radford University and his Master of Science in Finance from Loyola College in Maryland. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst Designation (CFA).

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