In an effort to increase testing capacity in New Jersey, the Department of Health waived certain regulations applicable to collection stations, which is when a licensed clinical laboratory occupies office space in a physician’s office for the purpose of collecting specimens on the physician’s patients. According to a June 5, 2020 Notice of Waiver, New Jersey licensed clinical laboratories may open collection stations to collect specimens for COVID-19 testing without completing the collection station licensing process or paying the required fee.
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.
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.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog post, the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”) issued its guidance on the resumption of elective surgeries in hospitals and licensed ambulatory surgery centers. As we mentioned yesterday, the Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) issued guidance addressing the resumption of (1) medically necessary or therapeutic services and (2) elective procedures in the office setting.
On Friday, May 15, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy executed Executive Order No. 145, which allows for the resumption of elective surgeries, both medical and dental, starting Tuesday, May 26 at 5:00 a.m. The Order required the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”) and the Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) to issue policies by Monday, May 18, to address where, when and how these surgeries can resume.
Skilled Nursing Homes
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") recently announced a new independent Commission that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to COVID-19.
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.
$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.
Today’s update focuses on modifications and/or additions to previous guidance, rules and regulations previously issued by the federal government. In addition, there have been several statutes passed on the State level as well as some proposed regulations.
New Jersey Extends Criminal and Civil Immunity to Facilities:
On Saturday, April 11, the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”) extended civil immunity to health care facilities triaging COVID-19 patients, such as hospitals. The State already extended civil immunity to practitioners pursuant to Executive Order No. 112 as we stated in our previous Update.