CMS Clarifies Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Testing, DOJ Finalizes Vertical Merger Guidance, and CMS Proposes New Value Based Purchasing Rule

CMS Releases Updated COVID-19 Coverage FAQs

CMS has released updated FAQs regarding COVID-19 coverage issues under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”).  Under FFCRA, insurers are required to cover COVID‑19 tests without patient cost-sharing. 

New COVID-19 Guidance, MIPS Hardship Applications Are Now Open, and CMS’ 2021 Home Health Prospective Payment Update

Guidance on Contacting Patients For Plasma Donations During COVID-19

The United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued guidance regarding a health care provider’s ability to utilize a patient’s protected health information (“PHI”) to contact patients and encourage them to donate blood or plasma to help other patients suffering from COVID-19.

HHS Changes Reporting Requirements Under the Provider Relief Fund, Direct Contracting Is Open, and New York Expands Telemedicine

HHS Says Health Care Providers Will Not Have to Submit Report on How They Spent COVID-19 Relief Grants by July 10

Many providers have received funds pursuant to the Provider Relief Fund and executed the terms and conditions, which require providers to issue reports to the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).   However, HHS has recently announced in its FAQ, under Reporting Requirements, that recipients do not need to submit a separate quarterly report to HHS or the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, as initially required.

New Jersey Considers Delaying Assessment for Ambulatory Surgery Centers and CDC Issues Guidance on Antibody Testing

New Jersey and the Federal Government continue to revise statutes and regulations to address COVID-19. Our updates continue to focus on these revisions. For example, New Jersey is currently considering a law that delays, for nine months, the assessment that Ambulatory Surgery Centers must pay by June 15. Any Center, however, should not wait until June 15 to determine if the law passes. Call the Department of Health and ask for an extension to pay the assessment.

A Non-COVID-19 Update . . . Yes . . . You Read That Correctly

Although everyone’s attention has been focused on COVID-19, other aspects of health care continue to move forward.  This update focuses on non-COVID-19 issues like five recent federal proposed payment rules, the recent Medicare Advantage Rate Announcement, and critical federal litigation.

CMS Makes Second Round of Sweeping Regulatory Changes and HHS Updates the Grant Relief Program

CMS Makes a Second Set of Sweeping Regulatory Waivers

On April 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") issued a press release announcing another round of sweeping regulatory changes giving physicians, hospitals and other healthcare organizations greater flexibility in responding to COVID-19.  These new changes build on the broad changes CMS issued in March 2020 as outlined in our previous Update.

HHS Issued $20 Billion in Grants Subject to Application Requirements and CMS Suspends Accelerated and Advance Payment Program

$20 Billion in Grant Money

In our previous update, we noted that CMS issued $30 billion out of the $100 billion in grant money under the CARES Act (the “Provider Relief Fund”).  As of April 24, 2020, CMS issued the $30 billion, and providers were not required to engage in any activity or application to get those funds, with the exception of attesting to the terms and conditions within thirty (30) days of receiving the funds through the Provider Attestation Portal.