G force is used to describe the acceleration of an object relative to gravity. The Wright brothers understood that the lift of the airplane had to be greater than the force of gravity.  In much the same way, the pull of gravity that healthcare providers are facing today is COVID-19.
Continue Reading And We Have Lift-Off: Improvements in Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management to Address COVID-19 Challenges

In an effort to provide additional relief to a health care system strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (“ONC”) released an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (“IFC”) on October 29, 2020 that extends the compliance dates under the 21st Century Cures Act Interoperability, Information Blocking, and ONC Health IT Certification Program Final Rule (the “Final Rule”) and offers some technical corrections and clarifications.
Continue Reading Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Extends Compliance Deadlines under Interoperability Final Rule

On October 6, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released guidance regarding the requirements and enforcement process for hospital reporting of COVID-19 data elements (the “Guidance”). The Guidance follows the September 2, 2020 Interim Final Rule, which included new requirements for Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and critical access hospitals (“CAHs”) to report data that allows CMS “to monitor whether individual hospitals and CAHs are appropriately tracking, responding to, and mitigating the spread and impact of COVID-19 on patients, the staff who care for them, and the general public.”
Continue Reading Clarity on Reporting and Enforcement: CMS Issues Guidance Regarding Hospital COVID-19 Reporting Requirements

As the pandemic rages on, and the United States has seen a spike in coronavirus cases in recent days, many healthcare providers are still struggling to care for patients and remain afloat. In response, HHS is continuing support and extending flexibility.
Continue Reading More Relief on the Way for Healthcare Providers: Provider Relief Fund Payment Opportunities and Flexibility in Repayment Requirements

On September 19, 2020, the Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”) of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued guidance (“September Guidance”) regarding the post-payment reporting requirements applicable to providers who received more than $10,000 in relief fund payments from the Provider Relief Fund (“PRF”) – a fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (the “CARES Act”) and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (the “PPP Act”) to provide financial relief to hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers.  In addition to the reporting requirements, the September Guidance includes information regarding the PRF audit procedures applicable to PRF recipients.
Continue Reading Department of Health and Human Services Releases New Provider Relief Fund FAQs: Reporting, Single Audits and What You Can Do Now

As noted in our March 31, 2020 blog article, “Strategies in Responding to COVID-19: Expanding Scope of Practice to Increase Patient Access to Healthcare” and in our May 8, 2020 blog article, “COVID-19: Medical Liability for Expanded Scope of Services,” the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed limitations in the healthcare system that have impeded access to medical care, often for rural, low-income, and minority communities. In order to increase healthcare access, many states and the federal government have worked to (i) expand the scope of practice for different types of non-physician practitioners (“NPPs”) to provide a wider range of healthcare services; (ii) eliminate or relax physician supervision requirements so that NPPs can practice independently without having to rely on physicians who are, themselves, scarce healthcare resources; and (iii) insulate NPPs from liability for the provision of those healthcare services that fall outside of their traditional scopes of practice.

Continue Reading The Scope-of-Practice Debate Takes Center Stage: The 2021 Medicare Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System Final Rule

On August 3, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Order 13941 (the “Executive Order”) which expands access to certain telehealth services post-pandemic.  The Executive Order focuses on telehealth access for individuals living in rural areas and implements the following mechanisms:
Continue Reading It’s Official: Telehealth Benefits Have Been Expanded For Medicare Beneficiaries

In a July 21, 2020 American Hospital Association (AHA) Press Release, the AHA announced the results of a new analysis prepared by Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC that, “highlights the dire impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the financial health of hospitals and health systems.”  According to the Press Release, the analysis shows that, without further government support, margins could sink to -7% in the second half of 2020, with half of all hospitals operating in the red.  In this same Press Release, the AHA referenced its own studies that estimate a minimum of $323.1 billion in COVID-19 – related financial losses for hospitals and health systems in 2020.
Continue Reading Hospitals, Home Health Agencies, and Skilled Nursing Facilities: The Costs of COVID-19 and Federal Relief for Healthcare Providers

Many areas of the country are experiencing resurgences of COVID-19, and it is foreseeable that second and perhaps third waves of the virus will hit pockets of the country throughout the remainder of 2020. As healthcare organizations struggle to balance their continued response efforts to the pandemic, with preparations for future waves, we have received many questions from provider organizations regarding how best to prepare their organizations.
Continue Reading Reopening Challenges: FAQs On Preparing For Additional Waves Of COVID-19

On July 17, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced it will begin distributing $10 billion in a second round of funding to hospitals operating in high impact COVID-19 areas. The distribution is anticipated to begin as early as today, Monday, July 20, 2020. Hospitals with over 161 COVID-19 admissions between January 1 and June 10, 2020, or one admission per day, or that experienced a disproportionate intensity of COVID-19 admissions (exceeding the average ratio of COVID-19 admissions/bed) will receive funding in this distribution in the amount of $50,000 per eligible admission.
Continue Reading More Money On the Way in COVID-19 Fight: HHS Announces Additional $10B for Hospitals in High Impact COVID-19 Areas

This week, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed the Equal Access to Care Act (the “EACA”), which would allow licensed providers to provide services via telehealth in any state, in any location for up to 180 days after the end of the public health emergency period.
Continue Reading The Post COVID-19 World: Continued Focus on Relaxing Telehealth Barriers