COVID-19 Telehealth Waivers and AHCA/NCAL Member Experiences
Since 2011 skilled nursing facility (SNF), and in some cases assisted living (AL) residents, have only had access to limited telehealth services under Medicare fee-for service. However, with the announcement of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued several waivers of existing telehealth limits during the PHE under provisions in Section 1135 of the Social Security Act. Since March 1, 2020, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has removed geographic limits, limits on the type of services and frequencies of physician telehealth visits, limits on telehealth services that non-physician practitioners such as nurse practitioners can furnish, and removed the prohibition on furnishing physician and occupational therapy and speech-language pathology services. Additionally, relaxation of certain privacy regulations by HHS has permitted an explosion in the use of lower-cost audio-visual technology including smartphones, tablets, and software such as facetime and skype in the delivery of telehealth services. In this webinar, four AHCA members from independent owners to large multistate for-profit and nonprofit organizations will share their experiences in implementing the COVID-19 telehealth waivers and how they have helped improve care during the PHE. They will also share their thoughts on which waiver details they would like for AHCA to advocate to CMS, HHS, and Congress to make permanent.
- Sarah Schuman, Brookside Inn Post Acute Care & Rehabilitation
- Deb Bielek, Ensign Services, Inc.
- Kristen Thrun, Burgess Square Healthcare and Rehab Care
- Greg Johnson, MD, Sanford Health/Good Samaritan Society
- Dan Ciolek, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living