B-TAC

The Blog to Transform Advanced Care

Advancing Care through Innovation, Observation and Collaboration.

C-TAC has submitted comments in response to the fourth Interim Final Rule, released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. We expressed support for the overall goal of the rule to clarify policies that are intended to support COVID-19 vaccine reimbursement and distribution, given the great potential a successful national vaccination campaign has to ultimately help control this pandemic and allow for the resumption of a more stable healthcare system.

We did share concerns about the rule’s blended interpretation of vaccine coverage, which could exclude federal funding from states that want to extend immunization coverage to special limited coverage groups. We believe this approach may have the unintended consequence of leaving people with the lowest means who rely on community services or volunteer programs without access to the vaccine. Read our full comments here.

Other Updates:

President-elect Biden Announce Members of the COVID-19 Response Team

On Dec. 29, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced additional members of the White House COVID-19 Response team, including coordinators for three crucial aspects of the COVID-19 response strategy: supply chain management, vaccinations, and testing.

For more information, see the press release here.

CHART Model Community Transformation Track Application Deadline Extension

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will extend the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model Community Transformation Track application deadline by one month to March 16, 2021. This extension is in response to feedback from stakeholders, including comments about the challenges of preparing an application during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Based on early analysis, the CHART model will likely provide additional opportunities for serious illness providers to participate in innovative value-based payment arrangements. Therefore, C-TAC is hopeful that this application deadline extension will allow for more interested organizations to consider applying.

For more information on the CHART Model, please visit here. The NOFO has been updated with new application and performance period dates here

ESRD Treatment Choices Model

CMS has released the final rule for the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Choices (ETC) Model to encourage greater use of home dialysis and kidney transplants for Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD. The Model begins on January 1, 2021. In order to help ETC Model Participants prepare for the ETC Model, CMS is providing the ETC Beneficiary Notification Form in Spanish (PDF). C-TAC believes culturally and linguistically appropriate resources are essential for providing high quality care, and therefore support CMS releasing translations of their forms.

Demand for Nurses Triples in Four Months

The number of nurses caring for COVID-19 patients has tripled since mid-September, according to a new analysis of aggregate hospital data by Epic Health Research Network (EHRN). The data shed light on the pandemic’s most dire staffing shortages. Nationwide, an estimated 77,500 nurses are now directly caring for COVID patients each day, a 245 percent rise. Overall, daily nurse staffing has increased by 11 percent, with a 14 percent decrease in non-COVID staffing that partially offsets the pandemic-driven surge.

Rural areas are experiencing the largest nursing staff increases and rural hospital ICUs were significantly more likely to have reached full capacity by the end of December, according to the analysis.

Ensuring a qualified workforce to care for the seriously ill is a priority for C-TAC. COVID has highlighted workforce shortages in the field and thus drives us to continue to advocate for policies that will address the gap between overworked healthcare providers and seriously ill patients and their families. See the full EHRN report here.

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