CMS Grants Flexibilities to Home Health Agencies

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On March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a guidance document that outlines new flexibilities that are being provided to home health agencies during the coronavirus public health emergency. During the public health emergency, Home Health Agencies (HHAs) will be allowed to deliver more services via telehealth during beneficiaries’ 30 day episode of care and beneficiaries will be considered homebound if they have a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which will allow them to receive skilled services in their home. CMS is also granting leniency during fee-for-service appeals regarding timeframes, timeliness, and extensions, which will give beneficiaries more time to complete the paperwork necessary to complete an appeal. Additionally, beneficiaries who are already receiving home health services can receive a COVID-19 test during a covered visit from a home health nurse. These new flexibilities will allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive a greater set of services from the comfort of their home, which will likely improve their health while reducing their exposure to coronavirus.

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