The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to ensure states and localities have the flexibilities they need to ramp up diagnostic testing and access to medical care, key precursors to ensuring a phased, safe, and gradual reopening of America.
“Today’s actions are informed by requests from healthcare providers as well as by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act,” the agency said on its website.
CMS’s goals during the pandemic are to:
1) expand the healthcare workforce by removing barriers for physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to be readily hired from the local community or other states;
2) ensure that local hospitals and health systems have the capacity to handle COVID-19 patients through temporary expansion sites (also known as the CMS Hospital Without Walls initiative);
3) increase access to telehealth for Medicare patients so they can get care from their physicians and other clinicians while staying safely at home;
4) expand at-home and community-based testing to minimize transmission of COVID-19 among Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries; and
5) put patients over paperwork by giving providers, healthcare facilities, Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, and states temporary relief from many reporting and audit requirements so they can focus on patient care.