COVID-19: CMS Issues New Policy Changes for a Phased Reopening of the Country

May 08, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a second, sweeping interim final rule in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on April 30, 2020. Building on the agency’s unprecedented March 31, 2020 regulation, which prioritized distancing patients from their care teams in response to the public health emergency, this second round of policy changes emphasized easing COVID-19 testing restrictions and expanding health system capacity for a phased reopening of the country.

The interim final rule comprises numerous policy changes that affect the full spectrum of healthcare settings, services, and provider types. Highlights from the interim final rule include enhancing access to diagnostic testing, extending hospital and health system capacity via temporary expansion sites, augmenting the healthcare workforce, expanding flexibility for telehealth services, adjusting the Medicare Shared Savings Program, and further reducing administrative burdens and requirements on an interim basis.

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