CMS to grant Hurricane Irma Medicare exceptions

Certain facilities get easier path for participating in quality reporting, value-based programs.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will grant exceptions to certain hospitals and other healthcare facilities affected by Hurricane Irma for Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs, and not requiring them to submit an extraordinary circumstances request.

According to CMS, the facilities that are eligible include: acute care hospitals; Prospective Payment System-exempt cancer hospitals; inpatient psychiatric facilities; skilled nursing facilities; home health agencies; hospices; inpatient rehabilitation facilities; renal dialysis facilities; long-term care hospitals; and ambulatory surgical centers.

“These providers will be granted exceptions without having to submit an Extraordinary Circumstances Exceptions request if they are located in one of the Florida counties, Puerto Rico municipios or U.S. Virgin Islands county-equivalents listed, all of which have been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a major disaster county, municipio, or county-equivalent,” states the agency, noting that all 67 counties in Florida are within the FEMA designated areas.

Also See: OCR grants limited HIPAA waiver to hospitals affected by Irma

“All of the exceptions are being granted to assist these providers while they direct their resources toward caring for their patients and repairing structural damages to facilities,” adds the agency.

CMS provides details of the scope and duration of the exceptions under each Medicare quality reporting program. For instance, in the case of home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, the agency is granting an exception to all Quality Reporting Program reporting requirements including the reporting of data on measures and any other data requested by CMS for the post-acute care quality reporting period for the second and third quarters of Calendar Year 2017.

The other exceptions under each Medicare quality reporting program are described in this document.

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