Assisted living facilities and their affiliated hospitals and health systems are bracing for a wave of lawsuits associated with COVID-19. It remains to be seen how much immunity they can expect from laws implemented during the pandemic. Risk management for assisted living facilities should be more responsive, nimble, and organized than ever before.
COVID-19 has affected hospitals and health systems in many ways, extending to the accreditation requirements and processes of The Joint Commission (TJC). Responding to many questions and concerns from accredited facilities, TJC recently offered answers in a webinar. The topics were wide-ranging, from the waiver of certain requirements to telehealth and documentation.
Approaching one year after COVID-19 began spreading in the United States, case managers are considering how to make the most of their new perspective in 2021 and beyond. The pandemic has shone a light on case management program and healthcare facility weaknesses, but also has brought new opportunities for leadership and advocacy. What can case managers do to maximize these opportunities and avoid pitfalls?
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.
The Office for Civil Rights has issued waivers and notices of enforcement discretion for several issues related to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance, but healthcare organizations still must be careful to comply with the privacy law even during the pandemic.
Relaxed authorization requirements sounds like great news. However, payers are vague on the specifics. For this reason, some patient access leaders are erring on the side of caution and continuing to secure all authorizations per usual protocol.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued waivers for some Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) requirements, acknowledging certain expectations are not reasonable to achieve during a pandemic. However, EMTALA still applies.