Medicare providers recently affected by earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding in the fall of 2018 were granted waivers by CMS. Regions struck by the Alaskan earthquake, Northern California areas devastated by wildfires, and North Carolina and South Carolina counties hit hard by hurricane/storm flooding all are exempt from certain CMS reporting and compliance requirements.

CMS issued a blanket waiver for the 2018 earthquake near Anchorage, AK. The waiver provides temporary emergency coverage of skilled nursing facility services without a qualifying hospital stay and expands the number of beds and length of stay in critical access hospitals.

The waiver also makes it easier for healthcare organizations to replace durable medical equipment that was lost, destroyed, or damaged in the earthquake disaster. (Editor’s Note: Learn much more about it online at: https://go.cms.gov/2LlhDaW.)

ASCs and other healthcare organization affected by the California Camp Fire and other fires in the state in the fall of 2018 were granted waivers to sanctions and penalties from noncompliance with HIPAA privacy regulations, beginning in November 2018 (https://go.cms.gov/2Eppumh).

ASCs that are located in one of 14 South Carolina counties and 27 North Carolina counties that were designated as a major disaster area by FEMA are exempt from the reporting requirement. Those facilities can direct their resources to patient care and building repairs (Read more at: https://bit.ly/2EwtmCM). Also, ASCs and other healthcare organizations in places affected by Hurricane Florence were granted an exception to quality reporting, according to CMS. The agency continues updating the exception list to reflect the needs of healthcare organizations in other disaster zones. ASCs and other healthcare organizations that sustained some storm or disaster damage but are outside the FEMA-designated areas can request an exception to the reporting requirements. CMS will decide whether to provide these particular exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

For a copy of the CMS extraordinary circumstances exceptions request, including instructions about how to send the form, visit: http://bit.ly/2EBgyLk.