CMS opens access to respiratory therapy

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

WASHINGTON – Medicare will cover respiratory related devices and equipment for any medical reason determined by clinicians during the coronavirus pandemic, CMS announced last night.

Previously, Medicare only covered them under certain circumstances.

“Clinicians now have maximum flexibility in determining patient needs for respiratory related device and equipment and the flexibility for more patients to manage their treatments at the home,” the agency states. “The current NCDs and LCDs that restrict coverage of these devices and services to patients with certain clinical characteristics do not apply during the public health emergency.”

For example, Medicare will now cover non-invasive ventilators, respiratory assist devices and CPAP devices based on a clinician’s assessment of the patient.

CMS also announced that it is waiving signature and proof of delivery requirements for Part B drugs and DME when a signature cannot be obtained. The agency advises providers to document in the medical record the appropriate date of delivery and that a signature couldn't be obtained because of COVID-19.