In February, New York’s first COVID-19 cases were treated in Westchester County, a short train ride from Manhattan. With an analyst’s help, Westchester Medical Center worked bed optimization for the medical center’s 654 beds that included three COVID-19 patient care units: high-need intensive care unit beds, middle-need beds, and lower-need beds.
New York City struggled, as did other hotspots. Patient care units sprung up in public spaces. Busloads of out-of-state nurses, medical residents, and retired doctors, nurses, and therapists pitched in. To expedite patient care, insurance companies waived copays and deductibles. Discharge planning regulations were relaxed. Paperwork took a back seat, as all efforts were directed toward patient care. All this was due to the declaration of a national emergency, which gave impetus to changes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
CMS is waiving the “eligible originating site” requirement for telehealth services rendered on or after March 6, 2020, and allowing telehealth services provided in all care settings, including a patient’s home.
Hospital quality leaders already strained by the COVID-19 pandemic welcomed the decision to delay reporting deadlines for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and not require reporting or use data from the initial pandemic period for Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs for future payment years. However, there are important issues to consider as hospitals move forward and regroup in the post-pandemic months.
CMS also drops routine surveys to focus on coronavirus
April 2, 2020
Responding to respirator shortages during the outbreak of novel coronavirus, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a memorandum allowing “enforcement discretion” by compliance officers citing the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR § 1910.134).