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April 8, 2020

Medicare and FCC Take Additional Steps to Support the Frontline Battling COVID-19

Coronavirus: Life Sciences and Healthcare Regulatory Advisory

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On March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) implementing a number of temporary adjustments to expand Medicare coverage of certain items and services; increase hospital patient capacity; further augment access to telehealth services; and give hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers greater flexibility during the public health emergency (PHE) to meet the country's unparalleled need for medical services. Simultaneously, CMS announced certain blanket waivers of the Stark Law. In addition, on March 31, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a $200 million grant program for infrastructure support of telehealth.

This Advisory summarizes these actions in the following sections:

Section I: Telehealth Update

A. Medicare Coverage and Payment Flexibility
B. FCC Grant Program Offers Immediate Infrastructure Support

Section II: Other Key Medicare Actions

A. Stark Law Waivers
B. Expanding Patient Capacity, Coverage of Services, and Financial Assistance
C. Updates to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in the Quality Payment Program

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2020 All Rights Reserved. This Advisory is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.