COVID-19 PHE Ending – Along with Waivers & Requirements for all Provider Types

On May 1, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new QSO Memo, “Guidance for the Expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).” The PHE is ending on May 11, 2023, so that’s not a lot of time to ensure your organization is ready for return to post-PHE operations. Let’s review what’s changing – and when.

Healthcare Facility Staff COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements – Ending (All Provider Types)

While the specifics weren’t included in this QSO Memo, CMS states that it will “soon end” the staff COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all provider types. More information will be provided at the end of the PHE – which is just around the corner. Stay tuned!

Emergency Preparedness Training & Testing Exemption – Ending (All Provider Types)

During the COVID-19 PHE, CMS issued a QSO Memo which allowed an exemption for providers who had activated their emergency preparedness plans for an emergency event to be exempt from performing the next required full-scale exercise. This exemption is based on the 12-month exercise cycle and only applies to full–scale exercise – not the requirement for the exercise of choice. The pandemic may be ending, but testing for further emergencies needs to get back into full swing per the regulatory requirements included in the QSO. That means inpatient providers must conduct a full-scale exercise within their 12-month cycle for 2023 as well as an exercise of choice. Outpatient providers must conduct either a full-scale exercise or exercise of choice within their annual cycle for 2023. This depends on if they are scheduled to conduct a full-scale exercise or exercise of choice this year.

In upcoming posts on the CMSCG Blog, we will review what nursing homes, home health agencies and hospice providers a need to know about the end of the COVID-19 PHE and what the “new normal” will look like for providers come May 11, 2023.

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