News Roundup April 24th, 2020

This week’s news roundup highlights the CMS’ rollout of a new toolkit to further clarify procedural standards to protect frontline workers. Additionally, the toolkit guides providers in helping them understand the waivers in place to allow them to deliver optimal health as they battle the invisible enemy. 


“We have taken numerous steps to respond to the pandemic, and have issued new rules and a sweeping array of waivers of federal requirements to ensure that local hospitals and health systems have the capacity to absorb and effectively manage potential surges of COVID-19 patients “

Additionally, the new toolkit conveys the most comprehensive to date guidelines to facilitate widespread adoption of telehealth services. The reliance of using technology is a welcomed progress to respond to patient needs in the fastest and safest way. 


“CMS has expanded access to Medicare telehealth services. Clinicians can now provide more services to beneficiaries via telehealth so that clinicians can take care of their patients while mitigating the risk of the spread of the virus. Under the public health emergency, all beneficiaries across the country can receive Medicare telehealth services.” 

In more updates, CMS has issued new guidance concerning Colorado, Delaware, Rhode Island and Texas to temporarily provide care to Medicare and Medicaid patients as they prepare health systems for patient surge in times of pandemic. The new guidance allows “licensed, independent freestanding emergency departments (IFEDs)” to offer care and expand providers available to Medicare. 


“Expanding the number of providers available to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries eases some of the burden shouldered by traditional hospitals and allows the healthcare system to treat more patients at a time when capacity is often limited. We must leave no stone unturned as we seek to bolster the healthcare system during this unprecedented crisis.”

And on a last note from CMS they are now recommending to open health care systems with low incidence of COVID-19


“As states and localities begin to stabilize, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is issuing 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. “

For news on the regional front we look at how home healthcare workers are gearing up in Florida. As the pandemic progresses, home health providers are often left to their own devices and forced to improvise when scarcity punctuates their day to day. Improvising when there hasn’t been any set procedures, an agency based in Florida develops a plan of action to procure PPE supplies to anticipate demand and shortage. 

From Yahoo News

“Bibian and Graber located masks from construction companies, fabric supply websites, office supply companies, Amazon, Groupon, and even a media design and printing company in Kuala Lumpur. They purchased 10 five-gallon buckets of hand sanitizer from a distillery, converted to making hand sanitizer during the epidemic. They found gloves from a beauty supply company. They even enlisted the help of co-workers, one of whom researched the CDC website on how to make masks and produced 400 handmade fabric masks. “