Trump Administration Initiates Wide-Reaching Changes to Aid in COVID-19 Patient Surge | Citizens Against Government Waste

Trump Administration Initiates Wide-Reaching Changes to Aid in COVID-19 Patient Surge

The WasteWatcher

On March 30, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma announced numerous changes the administration is making to Medicare regulations to ease the burden for healthcare providers.  These changes will enable them to speed up testing, increase capacity, expand their healthcare workforce, provide more support for their employees, advance the use of telehealth, and receive advance payments to assist them with current financial burdens.  These initiatives will go a long way to help the healthcare employees that are on the front lines saving lives and defeating the coronavirus.  You can read more about the initatives here and here.

Administrator Verma has already led the way in reducing roadblocks in the healthcare marketplace that Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has highlighted before such as expanding the use of short-term limited-duration health insurance plans to provide more choice, increasing the use of State Relief and Empowerment Waivers found in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Sec. 1332 - Obamacare), and cutting waste, fraud, and abuse.

For testing:  Patients will not have to leave home, Medicare will pay for a lab tech to go to their house or nursing home and get a sample;

To expand the workforce:  CMS will allow healthcare providers to operate at the top of their license.  A hospital will be able to more easily move their employees to other locations, such as allowing residents to provide more services under the supervision of a physician;

For more support to employees:  CMS will allow hospitals to expand the services to their employees such as providing childcare, meals, and laundry services;

Further expanding the use of telehealth by paying for 80 additional services:  CMS will pay physicians to make telehealth calls to their patients and provide care, allow emergency rooms to use telehealth, eliminating the requirement to meet face to face, and other services; 

To increase capacity:  CMS will allow hospitals and other healthcare systems to provide services beyond their current facility;

To increase ambulance services:  CMS will allow ambulances to transport patients beyond their usual range, like to doctor’s offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, urgent care centers, and end-stage renal disease and dialysis centers;

To assist with financial support:  CMS will speed up emergency and advance funding to Medicare providers. 

This is only a partial list of actions the administration is taking to assist our healthcare providers and make their jobs easier in this difficult time.  CAGW hopes these actions are successful and that CMS and Congress will take a retrospective look at the initiatives that worked best, reduced red tape, and saved taxpayer dollars and make them permanent.