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CMS Announces Independent Commission to Address Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes


As a part of President Trump’s Opening Up America Again effort, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new independent Commission that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Commission will provide independent recommendations to the contractor to review and report to CMS to help inform immediate and future responses to COVID-19 in nursing homes. This unprecedented effort builds upon the agency’s fivepart plan unveiled last April to ensure safety and quality in America’s nursing homes, as well as recent CMS efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 within these facilities. May 1 marks the beginning of Older Americans Month and, as we take this time to honor seniors, CMS remains committed to enacting policies that benefit our Nation’s seniors.

Home Health Plans of Care: NPs, CNSs and PAs Allowed to Certify

Section 3708 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Pub. L. No. 116-136) amended sections 1814(a) and 1835(a) of the Social Security Act to allow Nurse Practitioners (NPs), certified Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), and Physician Assistants (PAs) to certify beneficiaries for eligibility under the Medicare home health benefit and oversee their plan of care. This is a permanent change that will continue after the Public Health Emergency.

Effective for claims with dates of service on or after March 1, 2020, these non-physician practitioners may bill the following codes,

• G0179: Physician re-certification for Medicare-covered home health services under a home health plan of care (patient not present), including contacts with home health agency and review of reports of patient status required by physicians to affirm the initial implementation of the plan of care

• G0180: Physician certification for Medicare-covered home health services under a home health plan of care (patient not present), including contacts with home health agency and review of reports of patient status required by physicians to affirm the initial implementation of the plan of care

• G0181: Physician supervision of a patient receiving Medicare-covered services provided by a
participating home health agency (patient not present) requiring complex and multidisciplinary care
modalities involving regular physician development and/or revision of care plans

The descriptors of the three codes will be revised at a later date to include the non-physician practitioner specialties.

Ref: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/2020-05-07-mlnc.pdf
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