With the public health emergency extended to April, providers get additional time to use waivers for telehealth and other flexibilities.
Aside from these flexibilities, the public health emergency holds accountable care organizations harmless from financial losses for the months in which the PHE is in effect. For example, if the PHE is in effect for six months in 2021, then ACOs will only be liable for half of the shared losses they may experience this year.
Also, CMS will remove from ACOs’ expenditures COVID-19 episodes. Both are important, because caring for COVID-19 patients can be long and expensive, and providers shouldn’t worry about patients’ spending when managing their care, according to the National Association of ACOs.
Payers also got a break on reporting requirements last year when CMS announced that due to COVID-19 it was suspending data collection and reporting requirements for such quality reporting programs as the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS).