fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

FAH Recommends COVID-19 Waivers for Permanent Policy, Expiration, and Future Blanket Waiver Status

July 10, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare

Today, FAH submitted recommendations to CMS urging the agency to take action and work with Congress, where necessary, to make certain temporary COVID-19 waivers permanent Medicare policy. The recommendations also specify waivers that should expire upon the conclusion of the public health emergency (PHE) and those that should be automatically activated during any future PHE. 

FAH noted that many of the waivers have been transformational for our health care system in terms of utilizing technology to modernize and redesign how care is delivered. The FAH recommendations highlight:

  • The need for CMS to establish a "glide path" for phasing out COVID-19 waivers put into effect during the PHE, rather than a hard stop, and ensuring health care providers have significant advance notice of any such changes; 
  • The importance of existing telehealth waivers as well as those that permit the treatment of hospital outpatients at home through remote technology; and
  • An overarching principle for transforming waivers into permanent Medicare policy is ensuring that payment for health care services provided remotely through technology reflects differences in the cost structure of the entity providing the service. 

The letter states “we support CMS’ efforts to transform certain temporary waivers into permanent Medicare policy and look forward to working with the new CMS Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics to assist in achieving these meaningful and lasting policy changes across our health care system. In some cases, Congressional action may be needed to ensure a smooth transition, and we urge CMS to work expeditiously with Congress to act on policies that require such action to become permanent Medicare policy.”  

You can read the entire letter, as well as a list of the waivers that FAH recommends for permanent status, expiration or activation as a blanket waiver in a future PHE here.