The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced additional regulatory waivers and rule changes to expand diagnostic testing for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, telehealth in Medicare, hospital capacity and the health care workforce during the COVID-19 emergency.

The telehealth changes, for example, allow hospital outpatient departments to bill for certain Medicare telehealth services, expand the types of providers that can furnish Medicare telehealth services to physical and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and others, and allow more telehealth services to be provided by audio-only connection.

Other changes allow teaching hospitals to increase their number of temporary beds without facing reduced payments for indirect medical education; and certain provider-based hospital outpatient departments that relocate off-campus to obtain a temporary exception and continue to be paid at the full outpatient prospective payment system rate, rather than the reduced site-neutral rate.

CMS also issued additional FAQs clarifying Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act requirements, flexibilities and considerations for hospitals and other providers during the pandemic.

Watch for an AHA Special Bulletin tomorrow with more details.

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