The state of Texas has been devastated in recent weeks by a winter storm that has led to freezing weather, and state-wide rolling blackouts. In an attempt to offer support to SNFs affected by the winter storm, CMS is offering support in the following areas:
Medical equipment and supplies replacements: Under the COVID-19 waivers, CMS suspended certain requirements necessary for Medicare beneficiaries who have lost or had damage to their durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies because of the PHE. This will help to make sure that beneficiaries can continue to access the medical equipment and supplies they rely on each day. Medicare beneficiaries can contact 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for assistance.
Nursing home reporting to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN): CMS expects that nursing home providers will continue to accurately report COVID-19 cases to the NHSN. However, in light of the public health emergency in Texas, CMS will not impose civil money penalties for non-reporting through March 4, 2021, as residents continue to be displaced amid power and water concerns. Any facility that requires extended repairs or arrangements should contact its State Survey Agency to ensure proper coordination with CMS.
3-Day Prior Hospitalization: Using the authority under Section 1812(f) of the Act, CMS is issuing a separate waiver of the statutory requirement for a 3-day prior inpatient hospitalization for coverage of a Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) Part A stay, which provides temporary emergency coverage of SNF services without a qualifying inpatient hospital stay, for those people who experience dislocations, or are otherwise affected by the public health emergency.
Emergency Preparedness Requirements: Providers and suppliers are expected to have emergency preparedness programs based on an all-hazards approach. CMS has prepared webinars on emergency preparedness requirements, including topics such as emergency power supply; 1135 waiver process; Best Practices & Lessons Learned from past disasters; Helpful Resources; and more. The webinars are available at https://qsep.cms.gov/welcome.aspx.