WASHINGTON, DC – The accelerating spread of the COVID-19 virus has significant implications for the full scope of the healthcare continuum, including the HME community. In response, CMS, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) have thus far released broadly applicable information related to working with patients and protecting healthcare personnel, which AAHomecare notes below.
AAHomecare is working to secure additional guidance from CMS on ways to address issues specific to HME stemming from the challenges posed by COVID-19, including:
- Relaxing Medicare requirements for chronic lung disease for the provision of home oxygen short term.
- Potential use of telehealth to meet Medicare requirements for face-to-face documentation and ongoing medical necessity.
AAHomecare’s regulatory staff and the Regulatory Council are seeking additional information from CMS, as well as details on how major respiratory stakeholders in our industry are responding. In addition, we are reaching out to state Medicaid authorities and the National Association of Medicaid Directors for information on how they plan to address these issues, including potentially relaxing/suspending requirements related to reauthorization for supplies and rentals.
The HME community has a long track record of serving patients under adverse conditions. The COVID-19 outbreak poses a unique threat to the safety of individuals in our industry and additional significant challenges if individuals needing care at home grows rapidly. We urge you to take careful precautions to protect yourselves and your colleagues from exposure so our industry can continue to serve the patients who depend on us – perhaps now, more than ever.
Government Agency Resources
- Comprehensive COVID-19 Resources
- Note: the Frequently Asked Questions to Assist Medicare Providers link on that page is broken as of publication of this alert – here is a the correct link; however, there is no DMEPOS-specific info in that document.
- Information for Healthcare Professionals
- Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control FAQs for COVID-19
- Guidance for Public Health Personnel Evaluating Potential Patients & Close Contacts in Home or Non-Home Residential Settings
- Interim Guidance for Healthcare Personnel With Potential Exposure to COVID-19
- FAQs for Healthcare Professionals
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Guidance for Healthcare Workers