LeadingAge CA Five Things to Know Update for March 21, 2020

COVID-19 Top Five Things to Know for March 30, 2020

  1. Family Medical Leave Includes New Exemptions
    The Department of Labor provided clarification on employers / employees who are exempted from the FMLA Expansion, including amongst others health care providers…. nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions. We are seeking clarification on housing providers.  More information at https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200328 and https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions#58
  2. CARES Act Passes and Provides Members with Certain Flexibilities
    The CARES Act passed on Friday allows for increased flexibility around telehealth in nursing homes. Hospice recertification, and Home Health Face-to-Face can take place via telehealth. The face to face recertification for hospice can be done via telehealth for the duration of the emergency period -- we will have to wait for guidance on how to do that. There are no changes in hospice certification to date. 

  3. PERMANENT Change For Ordering Home Health
    Nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants will be able to order home health. CMS has to issue guidance within 6 months. The permanent change is only for home health. This was part of California's approved 1135 Waiver.
  4. 2% Sequestration Suspended Means Increased Payments
    Reductions in Medicare payments because of sequestration has been suspended from May 1-December 31, 2020. Medicare providers should receive an increase in their rates based on how the 2% reduction was implemented. See the LeadingAge summary here.
  5. CMS Telemedicine Toolkit for SNFs
    The CMS Telemedicine toolkit was sent out March 28th, and provides links and guidance related to telehealth, state 1135 waivers, fact sheets. Toolkit is directed to providers, including temporary virtual telehealth visits. CMS has broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. These policy changes build on the regulatory flexibilities granted under the President’s emergency declaration. CMS is expanding this benefit on a temporary and emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. 
  6. resources
    We have up to the minute and regular updates that consolidate state and national information on our COVID-19 Resources page and LeadingAge California Connect