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Alerts

CMS Makes Covid-19 Data Collection a Requirement in Conditions of Participation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring Covid-19 data collection and reporting as a condition of participation (CoP) for hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, including psychiatric facilities.

CMS added the requirement with other provisions in an interim final rule and said it will accept comments for 60 days. The rule noted the requirement will become effective when it is published in the Federal Register, although it did not list a specific date.

Under the new requirement, hospitals will need to report daily data, including—but not limited to—the number of confirmed or suspected Covid-19 positive patients, intensive care unit beds occupied, and the availability of supplies and equipment, such as ventilators and personal protective equipment.

CMS warned in the rule that if a hospital fails to comply with this new CoP, it could face possible termination from the federal healthcare programs.

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HHS Extends Phase 2 General Distribution Deadline to Sept. 13

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline to apply for Phase 2 General Distribution Funding for Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, Children’s Health Insurance Program, dental providers, and certain Medicare providers until Sunday, Sept. 13.

This funding is through the Provider Relief Fund, which the federal government established in this year’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. These payments do not need to be repaid to the government if providers comply with terms and conditions.

HHS has extended this Phase 2 General Distribution Funding deadline before, with the latest deadline scheduled for this Friday, Aug. 28. Providers now have a few extra weeks to apply.

Click here to read HHS’ six steps to applying for the Phase 2 General Distribution.

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HHS to Host Provider Relief Fund Webinar on Thursday, Aug. 13

The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) will host an informational webinar for healthcare providers about applying to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund this Thursday, Aug. 13 at 3 p.m. ET. Please click here to register.

HHS announced on July 31 that certain Medicare-participating providers would have another opportunity to receive additional Provider Relief Fund payments. These are the providers who missed an early June deadline to apply for additional funding equal to 2% of their total patient care revenue from the $20 billion portion of the $50 billion phase 1 General Distribution, including many Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and dental providers with low Medicare revenues. These eligible providers may now submit their application for possible funding by Friday, Aug. 28.

HHS has also extended the deadline to Aug. 28 for providers who participate in Medicaid and CHIP to apply for up to 2% of their total patient care revenue from a separate funding distribution for Medicaid providers.  To be eligible for this funding, providers must not have received any funding from the Medicare focused distribution of funding from the Provider Relief Fund.

Providers can access the same portal to apply for both Medicare-based and Medicaid-based funding.

HHS has hosted a series of webinars to address questions from providers throughout the application process, and Thursday’s webinar is the next provider and provider organization webinar in this series.

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HHS Extends Deadline for Provider Relief Funding Until Aug. 28

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the deadline to Friday, Aug. 28 from Monday, Aug. 3 for healthcare providers who participate in Medicaid and CHIP to apply to the Provider Relief Fund established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

HHS had previously extended this deadline to Aug. 3 from July 20. HHS said that it plans to issue a simplified application form soon.

In addition, HHS is re-opening the portal for Medicare-participating providers to apply for funding set aside from the Provider Relief Fund for Medicare providers. The previous deadline to apply for this distribution was June 3.

Providers will now have until Aug. 28 to apply for the balance of funding up to 2% of their annual patient revenue. HHS is re-opening this application process after learning that many providers, including many Medicaid and CHIP providers, did not apply to the prior Medicare-based distribution because they had relatively low Medicare revenues. 

HHS also announced it is working on another distribution of funding from the Provider Relief Fund focused on providers who have not received any of this funding, including those who only bill commercially or do not directly bill for the services they provide to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Information on how to apply for the various Provider Relief Fund distributions is on HHS’ website.

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Wit v. UnitedHealthcare Hearing Delayed to Wednesday, Sept. 2

The remedies hearing in the Wit v. UnitedHealthcare case scheduled for this week has been delayed to Wednesday, Sept. 2.

NABH has learned that U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero has re-scheduled the hearing due to meetings related to Covid-19.

Members of the public and press are welcome to join the webinar, and NABH will send an updated Zoom link when it becomes available.

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CMS Announces 2.2% Payment Update and Scope-in-Practice Changes for 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will update the Medicare payment rate for the Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System (IPF PPS) by 2.2% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, the agency announced in a final rule late Friday.

In its April proposed rule, CMS had estimated a 2.4% payment rate update for IPFs next year. The agency included its updated estimates and calculations in a fact sheet accompanying Friday’s final rule.

According to the rule, CMS will allow advanced practice providers, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and clinical nurse specialists, to operate within the scope of practice allowed by state law by documenting progress notes in the medical record of patients for whom they are responsible, receiving services in psychiatric hospitals. NABH has advocated for this policy change and is pleased the agency made this update.

CMS also finalized its proposal to adopt revised Office of Management and Budget (OMB) statistical area delineations resulting in wage index values that the agency said are “more representative of the actual costs of labor in a given area.”

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Help Maintain Coverage of Telehealth Expanded During Covid-19

NABH is requesting information from our members to show how expanded coverage of telehealth during the Covid-19 pandemic has helped maintain and even improve access to behavioral healthcare. This information will help us advocate for continuation of this expanded coverage of telehealth after the public health emergency ends.

Here is a quick survey to share the requested data on the impact of the telehealth expansion. Please submit the survey and any additional information as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, July 31.

Please email Kirsten Beronio, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs (kirsten@nabh.org) with any questions.

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Deadline to Apply for Medicaid / CHIP Provider Relief Extended to Aug. 3

Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced that it is extending the application deadline for Medicaid and CHIP Provider Relief Fund distribution from today July 20, 2020 to August 3, 2020.

In June, HHS announced plans to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs who had not yet received a payment from earlier distributions from the Provider Relief Fund.

This HHS fact sheet explains the application process.

In addition, HHS is holding focus groups tomorrow and Wednesday to identify opportunities to increase application volumes in the current Medicaid/CHIP distribution. The focus group discussion will center on three topics-

  1. Awareness of the PRF program and Medicaid/CHIP distribution
  2. Understanding of program components, such as eligibility
  3. Technical challenges faced during the application process

These sessions will be held on Tuesday, July 21st from 6:30 – 7:30 pm ET and Wednesday, July 22nd from 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET.

To confirm your participation, please send an email to preston.white@mckinsey.com with your name, email, title, organization and state, and note which session you would like to attend.

If you have any questions, please reach out to our Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Kirsten Beronio.

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HHS Announces Changes to Covid-19 Daily Data Reporting Process Effective July 15

HHS announced that as of Wednesday, July 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Covid-19 module will no longer be an option for hospitals to fulfill the agency’s request for daily data reporting on bed capacity, utilization, personal protective equipment (PPE), and in-house laboratory testing data.

Instead, HHS is asking hospitals to use one of these four options to report that information:

  • If your state has assumed reporting responsibility, submit all data to your state each day and your state will submit on your behalf. Your state can provide you with a certification if they are authorized to submit on your behalf.
  • Submit data to TeleTracking™. All instructions about the data submission are on that site and the new and updated fields will be ready as of July 15.
  • Authorize your health information technology (IT) vendor or other third party to share information directly with HHS.
  • Publish to the hospital or facility’s website in a standardized format, such as schema.org.

For additional details about these options, please see page 9 in HHS’s updated guidance. This information is also posted to NABH’s Covid-19 resources page.

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SAMHSA Updates Confidentiality of Patient Records in Final Rule

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on Monday issued a final rule to update the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records known as 42 CFR part 2 (or “part 2”) regulations, further aligning the regulations with other healthcare delivery rules.

Key changes include:

  • Part 2 programs may share information verbally with a non-part 2 provider without subjecting the non-part 2 record to the requirements of part 2, as long as the non-part 2 provider segregates specific substance use disorder (SUD) records.
  • Patients may consent to disclosures without naming a specific individual to receive this information; the update provides instructions for disclosures to exchanges and research institutions and provides guidance on disclosures related to care coordination and case management.
  • Non-part 2 providers are not required to redact information in their medical records and may redisclose information if the patient has signed a written consent, or if the disclosure is otherwise permitted under the regulations.
  • Written consents expressly allow sharing information with 18 types of payment and healthcare operations, including for care coordination and case management.
  • Non-opioid treatment providers have access to central registries if they have a treatment relationship to the patient.
  • Opioid treatment programs have new permissions to disclose information to prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • During medical emergencies, information may be shared among part 2 programs or other SUD treatment providers during state or federally declared natural and major disasters.
  • Disclosures for conducting scientific research may be made to non-Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) covered entities and those who are not subject to the Common Rule.
  • Permits federal, state, and local agencies to conduct audits and evaluations.
  • Extends to 12 months the period of placement of undercover agents or informants, which may be further authorized by a new court order.

These changes do not include provisions that recently became law in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). CARES Act provisions are effective March 27, 2021.

This rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register this Wednesday, July 15, and will become effective within 30 days of its publication.

For questions about this rule, please contact Sarah Wattenberg, NABH’s director of quality and addiction services, at sarah@nabh.org.

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