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CMS Suspends Some Rules to Maximize Frontline Workers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) received direction from President Trump to temporarily suspend a number of rules so that hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities can boost their frontline medical staff as they take on the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes will focus on reducing supervision and certification requirements in order for practitioners to be hired quickly and perform work to the fullest extent of their licenses. As a result of this action, doctors can now directly care for patients at rural hospitals, across state lines if necessary without being physically present; Nurse practitioners can now perform some medical exams on Medicare patients at skilled nursing facilities so that patient needs can be met; Occupational therapists from home health agencies can now perform initial assessments on certain homebound patients; and Hospice nurses will be relieved of hospice aide in-service training tasks so they can spend more time with patients.

For additional guidance, CMS has published a list of workforce flexibilities that CMS has permitted thus far.