Other Federal Updates and Guidance

Other Federal Updates and Guidance

DEA’s COVID-19 Response

During the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been taking a number of actions, including providing flexibility to allow DEA-registered practitioners to prescribe controlled substances, including buprenorphine, without having to interact in-person with their patients and allowing manufacturers to increase their inventory of schedule II controlled substances. For updates, resources, and additional information on DEA’s COVID-19 response, please visit DEA’s website.

CDC Issues New Guidance for Health Care Workers

On April 13, the CDC published revised Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings.

The information includes:

  • Recommending screening everyone for fever/symptoms before entering a healthcare facility;
  • Aligning with community masking guidance to address source control and asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic transmission;
  • Emphasizing that cloth face coverings are not considered PPE;
  • Medical facemasks, if available, should be reserved for healthcare personnel;
  • Focusing on universal masking and symptom screening for HCP instead of retrospective risk assessment and contact tracing; and
  • Considering dedicating space to care for COVID-19 positive residents) in nursing home.

The CDC also revised guidance for healthcare personnel with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 returning to work. The new guidance includes both test-based (preferred) and non-test-based options for determining when healthcare personnel can return to work.

Updated Recommendations on Providing Non-Emergent Non-COVID Care:

On April 20, CMS issued guidance on providing essential non-COVID-19 care to patients without symptoms of COVID-19 in regions with low and stable incidence of COVID-19. This is part of Phase 1 in the Trump Administration’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The new recommendations are specifically targeted to communities that are in Phase 1 of the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again with low incidence or relatively low and stable incidence of COVID-19 cases.

CMS Allows Independent Free-standing Emergency Departments to Temporarily Participate in Medicare and Medicaid

Currently, independent free-standing emergency departments (IFEDs) are not eligible to enroll in Medicare and Medicaid. On April 21, CMS issued guidance allowing licensed IFEDs in Colorado, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Texas to temporarily provide care to Medicare and Medicaid patients. This is part of CMS’ COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers, where CMS waived certain Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for hospitals to expand their ability to provide care for patients during this public health emergency (PHE).

Under the guidance, IFEDs may participate in Medicare and Medicaid in one of three ways:

  • Becoming affiliated with a Medicare/Medicaid-certified hospital under the temporary expansion 1135 emergency waiver;
  • Participating in Medicaid under the clinic benefit if permitted by the state; or
  • Enrolling temporarily as a Medicare/Medicaid-certified hospital to provide hospital services.
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