Public Health Emergency Extended
On October 15, 2021, CMS announced a three-month extension to the current public health emergency (PHE) due to COVID-19. This announcement extends the 1135 waivers for skilled nursing facility (SNF) providers. The waivers allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive skilled care in the absence of a three-midnight qualifying hospital stay and in certain situations allow for a one-time renewal of the 100-day benefit period without needing 60 days of wellness. The earliest the PHE will now end will be January 16, 2022.
SNF providers should be vigilant with documentation when using these waivers to ensure medical records reflect daily skilled care. It also is recommended that physicians or their extenders (physician assistants, nurse practitioners) include in their documentation why in their opinion each patient requires skilled care in the absence of a qualifying hospital stay. All other requirements for documentation as detailed in Chapter 8 of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual are required. For more information on qualifications for using the 1135 waivers, as well as the effect on assessments and billing, you can access CMS Medicare Learning Network Matters Number SE20011.
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