B-TAC

The Blog to Transform Advanced Care

Advancing Care through Innovation, Observation and Collaboration.

C-TAC sent a new set of recommendations to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the agencies respond to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus. The recommendations address several opportunities for policy changes that would support those responding on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, we applauded CMS and HHS for their commitment to providing new flexibilities and regulations in this crisis and urged that future changes continue to support the serious illness population and the health care workers caring for them.

Our letter included recommendations in several key areas, including:

Key Advance care planning (ACP) recommendations:

  • Allow ACP conversations to be billable using audio-only technologies as this is an equity issue for patients without access to video conferencing technologies.
  • Waive patient cost-sharing and deductibility for Medicare ACP conversations as such charges could discourage patients who can’t afford them from participating.
  • Include clinical social workers, registered nurses, and certified hospital chaplains as eligible providers that are able to bill for Medicare ACP services.
  • Encourage providers to create portable medical orders for the appropriate patient population to avoid subjecting them to unwanted medical interventions.

Key Telehealth recommendations:

  • Allow telehealth visits from hospice and home health providers to count as in-person visits on claims for payment purposes.
  • Encourage private payers and states to adopt similar telehealth waivers since state regulations may be more restrictive than federal ones in some states.

Personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • Increase the supply of critical PPE, take steps to ensure that home and community-based providers of serious illness care, including hospice, palliative and home health providers, are included in the priority categories for any new funding disbursements. Disseminate further guidance to support home and community-based providers’ ability to easily navigate the process by which they can access these materials.
  • Disseminate further guidance to support home and community-based providers’ ability to easily navigate the process by which they can access these materials.

For more information about C-TAC’s legislative and regulatory efforts, please contact Policy and Advocacy Manager Davis Baird at DBaird@theCTAC.org.

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