New Bill Would Permit Verbal Physician Order for Medicare Home Health during Emergency

POSTED ON MONDAY, June 1, 2020 

On Friday, May 22, new legislation was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow for verbal physician orders instead of signed and dated orders and certification for Medicare home health services during an emergency period. If passed, it would include the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The Improving Care in Home Health Agencies Act, written by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), is hoping to reduce the likelihood of virus transmission by limiting in-person interactions of an administrative requirement that can be conducted by simple verbal communications.

“Specifically, this legislation would amend what is commonly known as 1135 waivers. In the event that the President of the United States declares an emergency or disaster under the Stafford Act, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares a public health emergency (PHE), the Secretary is authorized additional authorities to provide support and assistance to efforts addressing the emergency. These waivers have already been employed for the COVID-19 PHE, such as those issued by CMS the past two months including the 30-day comprehensive assessment completion and 14-day aide supervisory visit requirements. In the case of the Improving Care in Home Health Agencies Act, the waivers would allow for verbal orders for the plan of treatment, the orders of care, and the eligibility certification.”

Source: NAHC Report


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