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CMS waives provider screening requirements in Texas and Louisiana during Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts

A CMS hotline is available for non-certified Part B providers and other practitioners to initiate provisional temporary Medicare billing privileges.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

To ease the burden for providers and suppliers assisting in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is suspending certain Medicare enrollment screening requirements.

CMS has established a hotline for healthcare providers in Texas and Louisiana to enroll in the federal health programs. It is intended for non-certified Part B providers and other practitioners to initiate provisional temporary Medicare billing privileges.

[Also: Hospitals to feel effect on credit, operating performance from Harvey, Moody's says]

"This is an unprecedented opportunity to work with healthcare providers to put our patients and people with Medicare benefits first," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "While we have heard from providers in these states that are willing and able to help, we know that by temporarily relaxing these and other Medicare provider and supplier enrollment requirements, we can make the services of skilled professionals more readily available to those in need."

CMS is waiving enrollment requirements for payment of the application fee, fingerprint-based criminal background checks, site visits and in-state licensure requirements.

[Also: McKesson Corporation, Vizient donations to Hurricane Harvey relief total well over $1 million]

In addition, the agency is exercising waiver authority to allow providers who are not currently enrolled to initiate temporary billing privileges by providing limited information such as National Provider Identifier, Social Security Number or a business Employer Identification Number taxpayer identification number and valid in-state or out-of-state licensure.

It is temporarily ceasing revalidation efforts for Medicare providers in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

[Also: CMS arranges dialysis services for renal patients displaced by Harvey, waives various requirements to bridge care gaps]

CMS is lifting the temporary enrollment moratorium in Texas on Part B non-emergency ambulance suppliers.

It is waiving the practice location reporting requirements and not taking administrative actions against providers who fail to notify their temporary practice location. This temporary process will remain in effect from the declared disaster effective dates of August 25 for Texas and August 28 for Louisiana until the disaster designation is lifted, after which the provider shall resume all reporting requirements. 

The toll-free hotline servicing Medicare's Part B providers and suppliers is available between 8 a.m.and 6 p.m. ET at 1-855-247-8428.

Beginning Monday, Sept.11, providers will be able to initiate temporary Medicare billing privileges over-the-phone and on the same day. Anyone calling on Friday, Sept. 8, will receive a return call Monday, Sept. 11, to be enrolled over the phone.

Novitas Solutions, a Medicare Administrative Contractor, will work to assist providers to temporarily enroll healthcare providers.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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