The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) outlined unprecedented steps to increase the capacity of the American health care system to provide care to patients outside a traditional hospital setting amid a rising number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalizations across the country.
In March 2020, CMS announced the Hospitals Without Walls program, which provides broad regulatory flexibility that allowed hospitals to provide services in locations beyond their existing walls. Today, CMS is expanding on this effort by executing an innovative Acute Hospital Care At Home program, providing eligible hospitals with unprecedented regulatory flexibilities to treat eligible patients in their homes. CMS believes that treatment for more than 60 different acute conditions, such as asthma, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) care, can be treated appropriately and safely in home settings with proper monitoring and treatment protocols.
As part of Hospital Without Walls, CMS also previously announced regulatory flexibility that allowed Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) – facilities that normally provide same-day surgical care – the ability to be temporarily certified as hospitals and provide inpatient care for longer periods than normally allowed. Today, CMS is announcing an update to that regulatory flexibility, clarifying that participating ASCs need only provide 24-hour nursing services when there is actually one or more patients receiving care onsite.
A press release is attached and available here.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Acute Hospital Care At Home program are attached and available here.
FAQs on the ASC flexibilities announced today are attached and available here.