Blanket Waiver Relief

CMS announced March 30 the following blanket waivers in effect, retroactive to March 1, 2020, extending through the end of the emergency declaration.

Home Health Agencies

Requests for Anticipated Payment (RAPs) CMS is allowing Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to extend the auto-cancellation date of Requests for Anticipated Payment (RAPs) during emergencies.

Reporting CMS is extending the 5-day completion requirement for the comprehensive assessment to 30 days.

Waiving the 30-day OASIS submission requirement. Delayed submission is permitted during the public health emergency.

Initial Assessments. CMS is allowing HHAs to perform Medicare-covered initial assessments and determine patients’ homebound status remotely or by record review.

To allow patients to be cared for in the best environment while supporting infection control and reducing impact on acute care and long-term care facilities.

To allow for maximizing coverage by already scarce MDs and APRNs.

Waive onsite visits for HHA Aide Supervision. CMS is waiving the requirement for a nurse or other professional to conduct an onsite visit every two weeks to evaluate if aides are providing care consistent with the care plan.

This waiver is also suspending the 2-week aide supervision by a registered nurse for home health agencies requirement, but virtual supervision is encouraged during this period.

Hospice Agencies

Waives Requirement for Hospices to Use Volunteers. CMS is waiving the requirement that hospices are required to use volunteers (including at least 5% of patient care hours) due to potential quarantine.

Comprehensive Assessments. CMS is waiving certain requirements related to updating comprehensive assessments of patients. Hospices must continue to complete the required assessments and updates, however, the timeframes for updating the assessment may be extended from 15 to 21 days.

Waive Non-Core Services. CMS is waiving the requirement for hospices to provide certain non-core hospice services during the national emergency, including the requirements for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.

Waived Onsite Visits for Hospice Aide Supervision. CMS is waiving the requirements at which require a nurse to conduct an onsite supervisory visit every two weeks to evaluate if aides are providing care consistent with the care plan.