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CMS Releases More Information Regarding Coronavirus

Today, CMS sent out more information regarding safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The three articles and links below include more guidance about COVID-19 for healthcare workers, as well as more guidance about the Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. The guidance expands on the types of face masks that healthcare works can use. 

Recently, VGM has been in contact with the CMS, the CDC, and NIH regarding the questions we have received from our members. The information provided in the articles below are answers for the general healthcare workers. Information in the first article provides guidance for home health agencies. This is great information and guidance for DME suppliers to follow as well.

VGM will continue to monitor the update on COVID-19 and keep our members informed. For more information and resources, please visit vgm.com/coronavirus

What should you/the provider community be doing right now? 
It is important to remain in contact with your state and county departments of health. Also, based on the information provided in these articles, we recommend you reach out to your local hospitals for additional guidance specific to your area.

CMS Sends More Detailed Guidance to Providers about COVID-19

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is supplementing its guidance to home health agencies and dialysis facilities to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The memoranda were developed from frequently asked questions the agency has received about interacting with patients amid COVID-19. The guidance offers clear, actionable information to healthcare workers on the screening, treatment and transfer procedures to follow when interacting with patients. This action is part of the broader effort by the White House Task Force to ensure that all of our nation’s healthcare providers and patients – particularly those at high-risk of complications from COVID-19 – remain healthy while helping to contain the spread of the disease.
https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-sends-more-detailed-guidance-providers-about-covid-19 

COVID-19 Response News Alert: CMS Issues Key Protective Mask Guidance for Healthcare Workers

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took additional action to ensure America’s healthcare workers are prepared to fight the spread of Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Specifically, CMS sent a memorandum to State Survey Agencies (SAs), which are responsible for inspecting nursing homes and other healthcare facilities serving Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The memo clarifies the application of CMS policies in light of recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance expanding the types of facemasks healthcare workers may use in situations involving COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. These are proactive steps to take as part of the White House Task Force’s efforts to ensure a maximum supply of facemasks and respirators are available to enable healthcare providers to safely treat patients without exposing themselves or others to COVID-19.
https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/covid-19-response-news-alert-cms-issues-key-protective-mask-guidance-healthcare-workers 

CMS Issues Guidance to help Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans Respond to COVID-19 

Agency provides flexibility to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans to waive unnecessary barriers that could prevent access to care. 

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking further action to ensure patients have access to the critical healthcare services they need in the wake of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Today, following a meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence, many leading insurance companies and their industry associations announced they will be treating COVID-19 diagnostic tests as covered benefits and will be waiving cost sharing that would otherwise apply to the test. The President also directed CMS to provide more flexibility to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans to ensure they have the tools they need to provide seniors with the best coverage.  As a result, CMS published a memorandum to Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D health and prescription drug plans informing them of the flexibilities they have to provide healthcare coverage to Medicare beneficiaries for COVID-19 testing, treatments, and prevention.

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-issues-guidance-help-medicare-advantage-and-part-d-plans-respond-covid-19

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