RHCs and FQHCs Finally Get Support Through Waivers, Payment and Treatment Modifications

April 24, 2020

CMS made two separate moves to support Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, on April 17, 2020, by issuing MLN SE20016 which makes changes to billing requirements and payments, including:

  • New payment for telehealth services, including how to bill Medicare
  • Expansion of virtual communication services
  • Revision of home health agency shortage requirement for visiting nursing services
  • Consent for care management and virtual communication services
  • Accelerated/advance payments
    Then, on April 21, 2020, CMS announced the following blanket waivers for RHCs and FQHCs:
  • Waived the requirement that a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or certified nurse midwife be available to furnish patient care services at least 50 percent of the time that the RHC or FQHC operates
  • Modified the requirement that physicians provide medical supervision of nurse practitioners at RHCs and FQHCs, to the extent permitted by state law
  • Removed the Medicare approval otherwise required for RHCs/FQHCs to provide services in more than one permanent location
    Additional details regarding these waivers are included in the RHC/FQHC section of the CMS Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers Fact Sheet.

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