CMS grants waiver to Florida to help combat COVID-19

March 18, 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waived some administrative requirements for Medicaid to help Florida expand access to healthcare services during the COVID-19 crisis.

The waiver that CMS granted to Florida, known as a Section 1135 waiver, became possible from a regulatory perspective after President Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.

Florida was the first state to submit such as waiver request, but CMS officials said they expect other states to follow suit, according to a news release.

The action allows Florida to waive prior authorization requirements, streamline provider enrollment processes, allow care to be provided in alternative settings in the event a facility is evacuated to an unlicensed facility, suspend certain nursing-home screening requirements to provide necessary administrative relief, and extend deadlines for appeals and state fair hearing requests.

“Florida is acutely focused on eliminating unnecessary barriers on our healthcare providers who are on the front lines serving our communities most impacted by COVID-19,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a news release.

As of March 17, Florida had 173 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 558 patients currently being monitored for the disease, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection.

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