Emergencies and Disasters (COVID-19) - JE Part A
Emergencies and Disasters (COVID-19)
Please see the article CMS Announces New Repayment Terms for Medicare Loans made to Providers during COVID-19 about Accelerated and Advance Payments for new payment terms.
Visit the CMS Current Emergencies page for information and updates related to COVID-19, including a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing.
Starting April 4, 2022, and through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), Medicare covers and pays for over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 test at no cost to people with Medicare Part B. Visit the CMS COVID-19 Over-The-Counter Tests webpage for more information.
On this page, view the below information.
- COVID-19 Lab Fee Schedule
- COVID-19 Vaccine, Monoclonal Antibodies and Administration
- Toolkit on COVID-19 Vaccine: Health Insurance Issuers and Medicare Advantage Plans
- Clarification for Using the "CR" Modifier and "DR" Condition Code
- COVID-19: Accelerated Payment
- Enrollment Guidelines
- COVID 19: Cost Report Extensions
- COVID-19 Cost Report Documentation Request
- COVID-19: Exceptions to the Productivity Standards for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
- Hospitals: Physician Time Studies during the COVID-19 PHE
COVID-19 Vaccine, Monoclonal Antibodies and Administration
For detailed information on COVID-19 vaccine, monoclonal antibodies, and administration, including CPT and HCPCS coding, pricing, and effective dates, please visit the CMS COVID-19 Vaccine and Monoclonal Antibodies webpage.
To view required claim information, visit Noridian's COVID-19 Vaccine and Monoclonal Antibody Billing for Part A Providers webpage.
Toolkit on COVID-19 Vaccine: Health Insurance Issuers and Medicare Advantage Plans
CMS is issuing a toolkit to help health insurance issuers, and Medicare Advantage plans identify the issues that need to be considered and addressed in order to provide coverage and reimbursement for the COVID-19 vaccine and administration.
Clarification for Using the "CR" Modifier and "DR" Condition Code
|Care for Excluded Inpatient Psychiatric Unit Patients in the Acute Care Unit of a Hospital||Allows acute care hospitals with excluded distinct part inpatient psychiatric units to relocate inpatients from the excluded distinct part psychiatric unit to an acute care bed and unit as a result of a disaster or emergency.||X|
|Housing Acute Care Patients in the IRF or Inpatient Psychiatric Facility (IPF) Excluded Distinct Part Units||Allows acute care hospitals to house acute care inpatients in excluded distinct part units, such as excluded distinct part unit IRFs or IPFs, where the distinct part unit’s beds are appropriate for acute care inpatients.||X|
|Care for Excluded Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit Patients in the Acute Care Unit of a Hospital||Allows acute care hospitals with excluded distinct part inpatient rehabilitation units to relocate inpatients from the excluded distinct part rehabilitation unit to an acute care bed and unit as a result of this PHE.||X|
|Supporting Care for Patients in Long Term Care Acute Hospitals (LTCHs)||CMS has determined it is appropriate to issue a blanket waiver to long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) to exclude patient stays where an LTCH admits or discharges patients in order to meet the demands of the emergency from the 25-day average length of stay requirement, which allows these facilities to be paid as LTCHs. In addition, during the applicable waiver time period, we would also apply this waiver to facilities not yet classified as LTCHs, but seeking classification as an LTCH.||X|
|Care for Patients in Extended Neoplastic Disease Care Hospital||Allows extended neoplastic disease care hospitals to exclude inpatient stays where the hospital admits or discharges patients in order to meet the demands of the emergency from the greater than 20-day average length of stay requirement, which allows these facilities to be excluded from the hospital inpatient prospective payment system and paid an adjusted payment for Medicare inpatient operating and capital-related costs under the reasonable cost-based reimbursement rules||X|
|Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs)||Using the authority under Section 1812(f) of the Act, CMS is waiving the requirement for a 3-day prior hospitalization for coverage of a SNF stay, which provides temporary emergency coverage of SNF services without a qualifying hospital stay, for those people who experience dislocations, or are otherwise affected by COVID-19. In addition, for certain beneficiaries who exhausted their SNF benefits, it authorizes renewed SNF coverage without first having to start a new benefit period (this waiver will apply only for those beneficiaries who have been delayed or prevented by the emergency itself from commencing or completing the process of ending their current benefit period and renewing their SNF benefits that would have occurred under normal circumstances).||X|
|Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS)||When DMEPOS is lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable, allow the DME Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to have the flexibility to waive replacements requirements such that the face-to-face requirement, a new physician’s order, and new medical necessity documentation are not required. Suppliers must still include a narrative description on the claim explaining the reason why the equipment must be replaced and are reminded to maintain documentation indicating that the DMEPOS was lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable or unavailable as a result of the emergency.||X|
|Modification of 60-Day Limit for Substitute Billing Arrangements (Locum Tenens)||Modifies the 60-day limit to allow a physician or physical therapist to use the same substitute for the entire time he or she is unavailable to provide services during the COVID-19 emergency, plus an additional period of no more than 60 continuous days after the public health emergency expires. On the 61st day after the public health emergency ends (or earlier if desired), the regular physician or physical therapist must use a different substitute or return to work in his or her practice for at least one day in order to reset the 60-day clock. Physicians and eligible physical therapists must continue to use the Q5 or Q6 modifier (as applicable) and do not need to begin including the CR modifier until the 61st continuous day.||X|
|Critical Access Hospitals||Waives the requirements that Critical Access Hospitals limit the number of inpatient beds to 25, and that the length of stay, on an average annual basis, be limited to 96 hours||X|
|Replacement Prescription Fills||Medicare payment may be permitted for replacement prescription fills (for a quantity up to the amount originally dispensed) of covered Part B drugs in circumstances where dispensed medication has been lost or otherwise rendered unusable by damage due to the disaster or emergency.||X|
|Hospitals Classified as Sole Community Hospitals (SCHs)||Waives certain eligibility requirements for hospitals classified as SCHs prior to the PHE, specifically the distance requirements and the “market share” and bed requirements (as applicable)||X|
|Hospitals Classified as Medicare-Dependent, Small Rural Hospitals (MDHs)||For hospitals classified as MDHs prior to the PHE, waives the eligibility requirements that the hospital has 100 or fewer beds during the cost reporting period and that at least 60 percent of the hospital's inpatient days or discharges were attributable to individuals entitled to Medicare Part A benefits during the specified hospital cost reporting periods.||X|
|IRF 60 Percent Rule||Allows an IRF to exclude patients from its inpatient population for purposes of calculating the applicable thresholds associated with the requirements to receive payment as an IRF (commonly referred to as the “60 percent rule”) if an IRF admits a patient solely to respond to the emergency. In addition, during the applicable waiver time period, we would also apply the exception to facilities not yet classified as IRFs, but that are attempting to obtain classification as an IRF.||X|
|Waivers of certain hospital and Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) Conditions of Participation and provider-based rules||Allows a hospital or Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) to consider temporary expansion locations, including the patient’s home, to be a provider-based department of the hospital or extension of the CMHC, which allows institutional billing for certain outpatient services furnished in such temporary expansion locations. If the entire claim falls under the waiver, the provider would only use the DR condition code. If some claim lines fall under this waiver and others do not, then the provider would only append the CR modifier to the particular line(s) that falls under the waiver.||X||X|
|Billing Procedures for ESRD services when the patient is in a SNF/NF||In an effort to keep patients in their SNF/NF and decrease their risk of being exposed to COVID-19, ESRD facilities may temporarily furnish renal dialysis services to ESRD beneficiaries in the SNF/NF instead of the offsite ESRD facility. The in-center dialysis center should bill Medicare using Condition Code 71 (Full care unit. Billing for a patient who received staff-assisted dialysis services in a hospital or renal dialysis facility). The in-center dialysis center should also apply condition code DR to claims if all the treatments billed on the claim meet this condition or modifier CR on the line level to identify individual treatments meeting this condition.||X||X|
|Clinical Indications for Certain Respiratory, Home Anticoagulation Management, Infusion Pump and Therapeutic Continuous Glucose Monitor national and local coverage determinations||In the interim final rule with comment period (CMS-1744-IFC and CMS-5531-IFC) CMS states that clinical indications of certain national and local coverage determinations will not be enforced during the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS will not enforce clinical indications for respiratory, oxygen, infusion pump and continuous glucose monitor national coverage determinations and local coverage determinations.||X|
|Face-to-face and In-person Requirements for national and local coverage determinations||In the interim final rule with comment period (CMS-1744-IFC) CMS states that to the extent a national or local coverage determination would otherwise require a face-to-face or in-person encounter for evaluations, assessments, certifications or other implied face-to-face services, those requirements would not apply during the COVID-19 public health emergency.||X|
|Requirement for DMEPOS Prior Authorization||The requirement to submit a prior authorization request for certain DMEPOS items and services was paused. Suppliers were given the option to voluntary continue submitting prior authorization requests or to skip prior authorization and have the claim reviewed through post payment review at a later date. Claims that would normally require prior authorization, but were submitted without going through the process should be submitted with a CR modifier.||X|
|Signature requirements for proof of delivery||The signature requirement for Part B drugs and certain Durable Medical Equipment (DME) that require a proof of delivery and/or a beneficiary signature was waived. Providers should use a CR modifier on the claim and document in the medical record the appropriate delivery date and that a signature could not be obtained because of COVID-19.||X|
|Part B Prescription Drug Refills||MACs may exercise flexibilities regarding the payment of Medicare Part B claims for drug quantities that exceed usual supply limits, and to permit payment for larger quantities of drugs, if necessary. MACs may require the use of the CR modifier in these cases.||X|
COVID-19: Accelerated Payment
CMS Announces New Repayment Terms for Medicare Loans made to Providers during COVID-19
CMS announced amended terms for payments issued under the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program. Providers were required to make payments starting August of 2020, but with this action, repayment will be delayed until one year after payment was issued.
See CMS Announces New Repayment Terms for Medicare Loans made to Providers during COVID-19 for complete information.
View the CMS COVID-19 Accelerated and Advance Payment (CAAP) Repayment & Recovery Frequently Asked Questions resource for additional information.
CMS Reevaluates Accelerated Payment Program and Suspends Advance Payment Program
On April 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. The agency made this announcement following the successful payment of over $100 billion to health care providers and suppliers through these programs and in light of the $175 billion recently appropriated for health care provider relief payments.
See CMS MLN Connects, Special Edition – Monday, April 27, 2020 for complete information.
CMS has expanded the current Accelerated Payment Program during the COVID-19 public health emergency to extend financial hardship relief to impacted Medicare facilities and providers. Special considerations will be given for COVID-19 circumstances. See the FACT SHEET: EXPANSION OF THE ACCELERATED AND ADVANCE PAYMENTS PROGRAM FOR PROVIDERS AND SUPPLIERS DURING COVID-19 EMERGENCY for more information.
To start the accelerated payment request process, reference the Accelerated and Advance Payment Form [PDF].
The request may be submitted to Noridian via email, fax or mail, using the below information.
US Postal Mail
Noridian Healthcare Solutions
Attn: Part A-Recoupment
PO Box 6055
Fargo, ND 58108-6055
Mail sent through FedEx or Other Courier
Noridian Healthcare Solutions
Attn: Part A-Recoupment
900 42nd Street South
PO Box 6055
Fargo, ND 58103-2119
We encourage fax and email submissions for faster action on your request.
- Providers are not required to report their home address if providing telehealth services from their home.
- If a provider submits a paper/web application and the MAC is able to clearly determine that the application is to add a home address, MAC shall return the application.
- MACs shall note the following as the return reason in the letter "This application is not needed for the transaction in question. Providers are not required to report their home address if providing telehealth services from their home."
For applications received on or after March 1, 2020, providers are not required to submit an application fee.
- For applications received prior to March 1, 2020, Noridian will not deactivate for non-response to development or revalidation.
- If a provider was previously due for revalidation but submits a change of information application, Noridian will process the application as a change of information and not a revalidation.
License and Certification Verification
- For all licenses that are unable to be verified, Noridian will rely on other PECOS enrollments in approved status for these providers to determine if there is an active license.
- If Noridian can verify a license using this method, no additional verification is required.
- If no other methods of verification can be found, Noridian will request the provider submit a copy of their license.
- This can be submitted via mail, e-mail or fax
- For non-physicians, Noridian will attempt to validate required certifications.
- Organizations will be setup automatically as PAR
- The providers reassigning to the organization will be set-up as par
Enrollment of Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) as Hospitals
- Noridian will deactivate the ASC's billing privileges once the approval for the hospital enrollment has been established.
- The effective date of the deactivation should be the date prior to the effective date for the hospital.
- CMS will provide additional guidance to the MACs in the future with the reactivation of the ASC enrollment.
- Noridian will verify that the ASC is in an approved status in PECOS.
- If the ASC is not in an approved status, the ASC will not be able to be converted to a hospital
- If the ASC is in an approved status, a temporary billing privileges process is initiated, and they should expect an approval of temporary billing privileges within 3 business days.
- Once Noridian has established the enrollment, we will reach out to CMS for approval
- Upon receipt of the tie-in information, Noridian shall finalize the enrollment record in PECOS and issue the attached temporary billing privileges approval letter via email.
Enrollment of Temporary Locations for Hospitals
- Noridian will not require a hospital to update their enrollment with temporary locations if the hospital is billing under the existing hospital CMS Certification Number (CCN).
- If a hospital submits a paper/web application, and Noridian is able to clearly determine that the application is to add a temporary location, Noridian will return the application as not needed
Enrollment of Isolation Facilities for Part A Certified Providers and Suppliers
- Noridian will accept enrollments for Part A certified providers and suppliers who are establishing temporary isolation facilities for COVID-19 positive patients and want to enroll and bill for their services.
- These facilities could be End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) or other certified provider or supplier types.
- These facilities are still required to receive final approval through CMS.
- Noridian will not provide approval for temporary billing privileges over the phone but, instead, collect information required to recommend approval to CMS Locations.
- Temporary billing privileges will not be extended to these providers until a tie-in notice and CCN has been issued.
COVID 19: Cost Report Extensions
42 CFR 413.24 (f)(2)(ii) allows flexibility of the due date for filing a cost report when a provider's operations are significantly adversely affected due to extraordinary circumstances over which the provider has no control, such as the COVID-19 PHE. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will delay the cost report filing deadlines for all provider types, including hospitals, SNFs, HHAs, hospices, ESRDs, RHCs, FQHCs, CMHCs, OPOs, histocompatibility labs, and home office cost statements, with a fiscal year ending between October 31, 2019 through December 31, 2019. The extended due dates are as follows:
|Cost Reporting Period Ending||Initial Due Date||Extended Due Date||Revised Due Date|
COVID-19 Cost Report Documentation Request
Due to the current Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) is instructing all Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to suspend requests for documentation for the following Medicare Cost Report activities:
- Cost Reports Worksheet S-10 (W/S S-10) audits for all cost reports that begin during Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 for hospitals that qualify for Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment until May 15, 2020. As for documentation requests that have already been sent out to the providers, MACs shall extend the documentation due date to May 15, 2020.
- All Medicare Desk Reviews, Audits and Reopenings until May 15, 2020. MACs shall work on any in-house Desk Reviews, Audits and Reopenings based on the documentation that they have already received. If additional information is needed to complete the reviews, MACs shall not send any information requests before May 16, 2020.
COVID-19: Exceptions to the Productivity Standards for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
Productivity standards are used to help determine the average cost per patient for Medicare reimbursement in RHCs. Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives are held to a minimum number of visits per full time employee (FTE) that they are expected to furnish in the RHC. Failure to meet this minimum may indicate that they are operating at an excessive staffing level, thus, generating excessive cost.
The A/B MAC has the discretion to make an exception to the productivity standards for a one-year period, based on individual circumstances. The RHC must request the exception and provide justification for not meeting the productivity requirements. The A/B MAC then evaluates the information provided and makes a determination as to whether an exception should be granted.
Many RHCs have had to change the way they staff their clinics and bill for RHC services as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). As a result, some of these RHCs may have difficulty in meeting the productivity standards. A/B MACs are to provide an exception to any RHC that has had difficulty in meeting the productivity standards as a result of the COVID-19 PHE. To minimize the burden on RHCs, A/B MACs may choose to proactively grant productivity exceptions to RHCs who have experienced disruptions in staffing and services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hospitals: Physician Time Studies during the COVID-19 PHE
Hospitals that incur physician compensation costs must allocate those costs based on the percentage of total time spent furnishing:
- Part A services
- Part B services
- Non-Medicare allowable activities
Hospitals must submit physician allocation agreements annually as part of the cost report filing process. During the Public Health Emergency (PHE), any one of these time study options is acceptable:
- One week time study every 6 months (two weeks per year)
- Time studies completed in the cost report period prior to January 27, the PHE effective date. (e.g. hospital with a 7/1/2019 -- 6/30/2020 cost reporting period, could use the time studies collected 7/1/2019 through 1/26/2020; no time studies needed for 1/27/2020 -- 6/30/2020)
- Time studies from the same period in CY 2019 (e.g., if unable to complete time studies during February through July 2020, use time studies completed February through July 2019)
For more information, see the Provider Reimbursement Manual (https://go.usa.gov/xvss5)
- Chapter 21, section 2182.3.E.3 - allocation agreements
- Chapter 23, section 2313.2.E and Chapter 21, section 2182.3.E - instructions for time studies
In the event of a national or regional catastrophe or disaster, the Emergency Response and Recovery webpage contains information about the most recent emergencies and disasters.
Access the below topic related information from this page.
Access additional resources that may assist providers when handling claims related inquiries from the below.
- CMS FAQs for Provider Enrollment
- Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) Documentation Requests Impacted by a Disaster
- CR Modifier
- Modifiers Used during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE)
Last Updated Thu, 16 Feb 2023 20:49:59 +0000
The below are topic specific articles which have been published to "Latest Updates" and sent out in Noridian emails within the past two years. Exclusions to this include time sensitive related announcements such as: Noridian and CMS educational events, Ask-the-Contractor Teleconferences and claims processing downtime.