WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 24, 2020)—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued new guidance for home health care providers and waivers for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) that have a direct impact on home health care providers.

On April 14, CMS issued several waivers for RHCs and FQHCs. One of the waivers issued lifts the requirement for these centers to provide visiting nurse services (RN /LPN) to homebound patients only where there is a shortage of HHAs within the center’s area. With the waiver RHC s and FQHCs may see their patients in the home in areas where there is a sufficient number of HHAs.

RHCs and FQHCs may also provide and receive reimbursement for telehealth services using real-time interactive audio-visual communications to their patients in the home.

NAHC is interested in knowing how these waivers might impact your agency. Although RHCs are only in rural areas, FQHCs are in located in all areas across the country and there are over 9000 of these centers. Please contact NAHC at mkc@nahc.org.

Also on April 14, CMS revised the Home Health Agencies: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19 document to clarify that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will not conduct audits to ensure that only physicians provided orders, signed and dated the plans of care, and certified/recertified patient eligibility for claims with “claim through dates” of March 1 or later submitted during this public health emergency.