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Medicare Agency Allows More Home Dialysis During Pandemic

April 8, 2020, 10:25 PM

More patients can now receive dialysis where they live under a new guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Wednesday.

As part of updated infection-control measures, the agency is allowing dialysis facilities to conduct the procedure in long-term care facilities. The CMS is also letting other Medicare-certified facilities provide home dialysis.

Dialysis facilities can also isolate vulnerable or infected patients and treat patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 in another location. These measures are being taken because people who are on dialysis are immunocompromised and more susceptible to the virus.

Hospital Help

The CMS also put out updated guidance on hospitals’ requirements to provide medical screening. Hospitals will not be required to screen or stabilize patients at Covid-19 testing sites they don’t control. Normally, hospitals that participate in Medicare and offer emergency services have to do so under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

However, hospitals can’t tell individuals who have come to the emergency department to go to an off-site location for Covid-19 testing until they have had a medical screening exam.

The CMS also updated its hospital guidance to include information from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention about relocation of patients to other units and when providers who have Covid-19 symptoms can return to work.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at sstein@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com

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