In anticipation of the surge expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma has announced sweeping regulatory changes. She said that under the “hospitals without walls” program, “hospitals will be able to transfer patients to outside facilities, such as ambulatory surgery centers, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, hotels, and dormitories, while still receiving hospital payments under Medicare. Ambulatory surgery centers can contract with local healthcare systems to provide hospital services, or they can enroll and bill as hospitals during the emergency declaration as long as they are not inconsistent with their State’s Emergency Preparedness or Pandemic Plan.” If an ASC wants to enroll to receive temporary billing privileges as a hospital, they should call the COVID-19 Provider Enrollment Hotline to reach the contractor that serves their jurisdiction. They will need to complete and sign an attestation form specific to the COVID-019 Public Health Emergency (PHE).
For the past several weeks the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association has been working closely with the administration and CMS. This flexibility will allow a number of ASCs to take a greater role during the pandemic.
New recommendations to mitigate transmission of the coronavirus have been issued by CMS, including screening, restricting visitors, cleaning and disinfection and potential closures.
Of course, many ASCA members are asking what will happen if they temporarily close during the pandemic. According to the CMS announcement, “CMS will not take administrative actions with respect to facilities who need to temporarily close during the outbreak, however, facilities are expected to resume operations or voluntarily terminate their Medicare enrollment within 30 days of the public health emergency being lifted.”
During these interesting times, it’s important to keep up with the changing healthcare environment. If your hospital, clinic, practice or urgent care facility is in need of medical imaging equipment, remember that refurbished or used imaging devices can provide the performance you need and exemplary warranty coverage while saving you money. Talk to an expert at Atlantis Worldwide to find out more.
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About the author: Vikki Harmonay