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December 04, 2020

CMS Expands Home-Based Hospital-Level Care Amid COVID Surge

On November 25, CMS announced flexibility for safe hospital care for eligible patients in their homes as well as staffing flexibility for ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) in an effort to enhance hospital capacity amid the COVID-19 surge. As part of the announcement, CMS stated that it believes 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. Participating hospitals must meet appropriate requirements prior to beginning at-home care consistent with this announcement.

CMS also clarified that ASCs participating in the prior flexibility arrangement will temporarily be certified as hospitals and provide inpatient care, with the appropriate staffing, longer than the standard rule of 24 hours or less, need only provide 24-hour nursing services when there is actually one or more patient receiving care onsite.