• The Diversified Companies

CMS Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced significant measures to support the healthcare system and its beneficiaries amidst the crisis. This especially includes implementing rules to support and expand COVID-19 diagnostic testing for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

The latest ramifications announced on April 30th come in the form of financial aid packages for Medicare programs as well as rule changes for hospitals and healthcare systems, designed to give emergency financial support and minimize any roadblocks preventing the delivery of healthcare during the crisis. Building on previous regulations, these progressive changes have been expanding over the last few weeks as the virus continues to spread across the country, since it is known that the virus can especially affect those 65 and older.

Here are the 5 main objectives with a quick summary on how these changes will directly effect the healthcare of those on Medicare or Medicaid:

  • Expand the healthcare workforce.

  • CMS is continuing to remove barriers for hiring and retaining physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to keep staffing levels high at hospitals, health clinics, and other facilities.

  • Since beneficiaries may need in-home services during the COVID-19 pandemic, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants can now provide home health services.

  • Expand the capacity of hospitals and healthcare systems.

  • CMS is giving providers flexibility during the pandemic to increase the number of beds for COVID-19 patients while receiving stable, predictable Medicare payments.

  • Hospitals can now provide services in other healthcare facilities and sites that aren’t part of the existing hospital, and they can set up temporary expansion sites to help address patient needs. 

  • Expand access to telehealth

  • CMS Has expanded the types of services available to patients via audio-only telephone technology including many behavioral health and patient education services

  • Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists and other types of clinical practitioners may provide telehealth services as well

  • Expand the testing capacity

  • A COVID-19 test can be covered as long as it ordered by any healthcare professional, not just a treating physician

  • Pharmacies are going to establish parking lot testing sites with flexibility provided by CMS

  • Medicare will cover certain antibody tests, which will help to determine who has been infected with COVID-19 in the past.

  • Reduce the burden of paperwork on practitioners.

  • Community Mental Health Centers can temporarily offer partial hospitalization and other mental health services to clients in the safety of their homes, rather than in a clinic - and they will provide payment for certain services.

  • They are continuing to ease federal rules and institute new flexibilities to ensure that states and localities can focus on caring for patients during the pandemic and that care is not delayed due to administrative red tape.

These are only some of the measures that CMS has adopted to transform the healthcare system in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind that these ramifications are only on a temporary basis since they are meant to address the needs of the healthcare industry as well as Medicare and medicaid beneficiaries.

With these new changes in play, it is Medicare's hope that they can help all parties involved in the healthcare system, whether that be doctors, hospitals, administration, and those who are insured by Medicare or Medicaid.

Diversified has given you the general gist of what changes will have a direct affect on Seniors until the crisis is over. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about what you are entitled to with Medicare during the crisis, please give us a call at 844-244-8000 to speak with a licensed representative, or visit to learn more.

A full summary of the changes and updates to Medicare and Medicaid coverage can be found on the CMS website here.

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