When the President declares a disaster or emergency under the Stafford Act or National Emergencies Act and the HHS Secretary declares a public health emergency under Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, the Secretary is authorized to take certain actions in addition to her regular authorities.
For example, under section 1135 of the Social Security Act, the Secretary may temporarily waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements to ensure:
- sufficient health care items and services are available to meet the needs of individuals enrolled in Social Security Act programs in the emergency area and time periods
- providers who give such services in good faith can be reimbursed and exempted from sanctions (absent any determination of fraud or abuse).
Examples of these 1135 waivers or modifications include:
- Conditions of participation or other certification requirements
- Program participation and similar requirements
- Preapproval requirements
- Requirements that physicians and other health care professionals be licensed in the State in which they are providing services, so long as they have equivalent licensing in another State (this waiver is for purposes of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP reimbursement only – state law governs whether a non-Federal provider is authorized to provide services in the state without state licensure)
- Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)
- Stark self-referral sanctions
- Performance deadlines and timetables may be adjusted (but not waived).
- Limitations on payment for health care items and services furnished to Medicare Advantage enrollees by non-network providers
These waivers under section 1135 of the Social Security Act typically end no later than the termination of the emergency period, or 60 days from the date the waiver or modification is first published unless the Secretary of HHS extends the waiver by notice for additional periods of up to 60 days, up to the end of the emergency period.
Additionally, the Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers regulation applicable to all 17 provider types, also requires inpatient providers to have policies and procedures that address the facility’s role under an ‘‘1135 waiver’’. For additional information, please visit https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertEmergPrep/Emergency-Prep-Rule .