CMS Waives Provider Screening Requirements in Texas and Louisiana During Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts

September 2017 ~

CMS has announced it will suspend certain Medicare enrollment screening requirements for healthcare providers and suppliers that are assisting with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana. The waiver is aimed at enabling clinicians who don’t participate in Medicare or who have come to the affected states from other areas of the country to help care for victims of the natural disaster.

Under the waiver, CMS established a toll-free hotline servicing Medicare’s Part B providers and suppliers in Texas and Louisiana.  The hotline is intended for non-certified Part B providers and other practitioners to initiate provisional temporary Medicare billing privileges. Novitas Solutions, a Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), will work to assist providers in both states to temporarily enroll health care providers. To assist in this effort CMS is waiving the following enrollment requirements:

1. Payment of the application fee (42 C.F.R 424.514)
2. Finger print based criminal background checks (FCBC- 42 C.F.R Section 424.518)
3. Site visits – (42 C.F.R Section 424.510)
4. In-state licensure requirements (42 C.F.R Section 424.510)

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that Starting 11, 2017, providers will be able to initiate temporary Medicare billing privileges over-the-phone and on the same day.

Additionally, CMS is exercising waiver authority to allow providers who are not currently enrolled to initiate temporary billing privileges by providing limited information, including, but not limited to, National Provider Identifier (NPI), Social Security Number (SSN) or a business Employer Identification Number taxpayer identification numbers (SSN/EIN/TIN), and valid in-state or out-of-state licensure.

The agency is also temporarily ceasing revalidation efforts for Medicare providers located in Texas, Louisiana and areas otherwise directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey, as well as lifting the temporary enrollment moratorium in Texas on Part B non-emergency ambulance suppliers. The agency has authority to lift an enrollment moratorium at any time if the President declares an area a disaster under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. CMS has carefully reviewed the potential impact of continued moratorium in Texas and the decision to lift the temporary enrollment moratoria on Part B non-emergency ambulance suppliers in Texas was made to expedite aid in the disaster response.  CMS is working to publish a notice in the Federal Register to announce the lifting of the moratoria.

CMS has said they will also waive the practice location reporting requirements and not taking administrative actions with respect to providers who fail to notify them of their temporary practice location via the CMS-855.

This temporary process will remain in effect from the declared disaster effective dates (August 25, 2017 for Texas and August 28, 2017 for Louisiana) until the disaster designation is lifted, after which the provider shall resume all reporting requirements.  If the temporary location is still being utilized until the previous location is re-established, it must be reported to the MAC via the appropriate CMS-855.

The new toll free Hotline Telephone Number: 1-855-247-8428
Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM ET


Source(s): CMS; HHSHealthcare Finance News; MedScape;