The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are undergoing regulation changes to address the surge in COVID-19 patients, including changes to promote telehealth.

The changes allow for local hospitals and healthcare systems to expand treatment capacity, expand the healthcare workforce, eliminate paperwork requirements, and promote telehealth in Medicare. These waivers and flexibilities will allow hospitals and other healthcare centers to expand capacity by triaging patients to community-based locales such as ambulatory surgery centers, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, hotels, and dormitories.

“Front line healthcare providers need to be able to focus on patient care in the most flexible and innovative ways possible. This unprecedented temporary relaxation in regulation will help the healthcare system deal with patient surges by giving it tools and support to create non-traditional care sites and staff them quickly,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

CMS will now allow for over 80 additional services to be utilized through telehealth technologies, including interactive apps or allowing healthcare providers to evaluate beneficiaries who have audio phones only.

“CMS is making it clear that clinicians can provide remote patient monitoring services to patients with acute and chronic conditions, and can be provided for patients with only one disease,” CMS said. “In addition, CMS is allowing physicians to supervise their clinical staff using virtual technologies when appropriate, instead of requiring in-person presence.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.