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CMS to allow providers to practice at top of license, across states

April 09, 2020

MICHAEL BRADY 

The CMS on Thursday will allow providers to practice across state lines and at their top of license.

The new flexibilities allow doctors to treat patients at rural hospitals via telehealth, even if they’re out-of-state. Nurse practitioners will also be allowed to perform select medical exams for Medicare patients in skilled nursing facilities, even if they’re not COVID-19 related.

Occupational therapists that work for home health agencies will also be able to do initial assessments for homebound patients, and hospice nurses will no longer have to participate in hospice aide in-service activities.

The Trump administration hopes these moves will free up additional provider capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s all hands on deck during this crisis,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “All frontline medical professionals need to be able to work at the highest level they were trained for.”

The onslaught of COVID-19 cases has left hospitals throughout the country short-staffed and hamstrung by state and federal rules that don’t allow mid-level providers to practice at the top of their license.

Hospitals have asked for new flexibility so that they can free up system capacity without having to hire new staff or take doctors away from where they’re needed most.

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