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CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY MEASURES: WAIVER OF STATE LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS, OTHER POLICIES GOING INTO EFFECT
Federal and state governments are racing to implement emergency measures designed at containing and treating COVID-19. One such measure is the waiver of in-state licensure requirements for providers licensed in another state or jurisdiction. Presently, New York and New Jersey have not implemented such a measure, but approximately ten other states, including Florida, have put in place such waivers with varying restrictions. We can expect this trend to continue as doctors and emergency rooms attempt to deal with a heavy increase in patient intake.
Similarly, CMS issued emergency guidelines implementing a number of measures, including a temporary waiver of the Medicare/Medicaid requirement that out-of-state licensed providers be licensed in the state where they are providing services. While this applies to all Medicare and Medicaid patients, providers should be aware that state requirements are still applicable. As such, if the relevant "home" state licensing authority has not issued a waiver, out-of-state providers may not be permitted to provide care to Medicare/Medicaid patients in a state that they are not licensed in.
CMS has issued a number of additional guidelines aimed at addressing barriers to care resulting from quarantine or social distancing. For example, where Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) are lost, damaged or rendered unusable, Medicare contractors are now granted authority to waive replacement requirements, such as those pertaining to a face-to-face encounter, a new physician's order, and new medical necessity documentation. DME suppliers, however, should be aware that a narrative description on the claim explaining the reason why the equipment must be replaced is still required and documentation of the emergency circumstances must be maintained.