Rich May (Massachusetts): Procedural Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Enrollment Relaxed to Combat Coronavirus Epidemic

On Friday, March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergencyproviding resources and capabilities to combat the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Part of the declaration granted Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar extra powers under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to waive regulations that could hinder health professionals’ response capabilities. Waivers or modifications to certain requirements of titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act were handed down on March 13, 2020 and took effect as of 6PM Eastern Standard Time on March 15, 2020, with a retroactive effective date of March 1, 2020. These waivers have temporarily reduced requirements in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The waivers streamline provider enrollment processes; allow care to be provided in alternative settings; suspend some nursing home screening requirements; and extend deadlines for appeals. Also waived are payment limitations on using out-of-network providers and a federal mandate that doctors be licensed in the state in which they are practicing.

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