CMS Waives Hospice Rules During Pandemic, Further Expands Telehealth

Posted on Monday, April 6, 2020 12:42 PM

In response to COVID-19, CMS has waived certain hospice regulations including the requirement that a nurse must conduct a home visit every two weeks and expanded telehealth use.  These changes are designed to lessen the regulatory burden across the health care field during this pandemic.

“Every day, heroic nurses, doctors, and other health care workers are dedicating long hours to their patients. This means sacrificing time with their families and risking their very lives to care for coronavirus patients,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Front line health care providers need to be able to focus on patient care in the most flexible and innovative ways possible. This unprecedented temporary relaxation in regulation will help the health care system deal with patient surges by giving it tools and support to create non-traditional care sites and staff them quickly.”

CMS is extending the timeframe for updating a patient’s comprehensive assessment to 21 days, they have also waived the requirement that 5% of patient care hours must be provided by volunteers.                                                                                                                                       They are also allowing clinicians to provide services via telehealth if it is consistent with the patient’s care plan.

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