Crowell Health Solutions Health Care Policy Intern

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a number of waivers and flexibilities to help healthcare providers manage the influx of patients during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). The implementation of the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCaH) individual waiver in 2020 allowed qualifying hospitals to provide hospital at home (H@H) programs. These programs provide similar services as those administered during inpatient visits, such as physician visits and monitoring, drug prescription, nursing services, diagnostics, etc. Since its employment, 144 systems including 260 hospitals across 37 states have utilized the AHCaH waiver, rapidly increasing the number of H@H programs in the United States. While the initiative was originally set to expire with the end of the PHE, the AHCaH waiver program was extended until December 31, 2024, with the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA 2023). The extension of this program sends a strong message about the importance of permanently integrating home-based care delivery models into our healthcare system. Despite the lengthy extension, the nature of this waiver program remains temporary and the concerns about the expiration effects on relevant stakeholders continue to be pertinent.

Continue Reading Hospital at Home Programs Extended, But Final Push Is Needed

In late November, HHS proposed long-awaited changes to regulations at 42 C.F.R. Part 2 (“Part 2”) governing the confidentiality of substance use disorder (“SUD”) records as required under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. Generally, HHS is attempting to align Part 2 requirements with the HIPAA (“Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act”) Privacy Rule. The most significant changes are those to the rules governing consent for entities subject to Part 2’s restrictions to use, disclose, and redisclose Part 2 records with respect to treatment, payment, and health care operations (“TPO”) activities.

Continue Reading HHS Proposed Changes Would Align Part 2 Regulations on Substance Use Disorder Records with HIPAA