CMS RELAXES CERTAIN REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS, INCLUDING ALLOWING PHYSICIANS TO USE TELEMEDICINE TO CARE FOR PATIENTS IN RURAL HOSPITALS ACROSS STATE LINES

 

In order to allow hospitals and other providers to “boost their frontline medical staffs” during the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has temporarily relaxed several regulatory requirements. Among the most important changes for rural hospitals is one allowing rural hospitals to use telemedicine to access physicians in other states.   Rural hospitals can use voice, radio, and on-line communication to access physicians across state lines.

CMS has also temporarily permitted physicians whose privileges will soon expire to continue practicing at hospitals and new physicians to begin working prior to full medical staff credentialing; allowed hospitals to screen patients under the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) at offsite locations to prevent the spread of COVID-19; limited requirements for discharge planning related to post-acute services; and waived certain requirements for verbal orders.

The relaxed regulations are effective immediately and will remain relaxed during the pendency of the national health emergency.

The full list of relaxed regulations is linked here.