Jan 08, 2021
From disaster privileging to credentialing by proxy and beyond, COVID-19 has profoundly affected medical staff services professionals’ (MSSP) operations and obligations. As 2020 finally draws to a close, MSSP should keep a keen eye on legislation (such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which introduced several new telehealth measures) set to expire on Dec. 31.
And there could be even more changes ahead as Congress hashes out another relief bill. With vaccine distribution on the horizon, 2021 could bring a return to normalcy. But will COVID-19 have permanently changed healthcare by then?
Here are some of the legal developments to have on your radar heading into 2021.
Telehealth continues to be popular with patients, prompting the Department of Health and Human Services to make it more accessible. Recently, an amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act waives interstate licensure requirements for “covered countermeasures.” This could include prescribing COVID-19 diagnostic testing to a patient in another state via telehealth.
Several states also have specific licensure waivers for interstate telehealth, with many of these waivers are set to expire at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. Consult your legal counsel to stay up to date on waiver renewals or expirations in your state.
HHS recently published two final rules on value-based care. While they don’t directly impact compliance, MSSP can play a role in ensuring efficiency through a top-of-license model. Facilitating the top-of-license model ensures that providers practice at the full scope of their license, which increases efficiency while providing better patient care. Many physicians believe that portions of their work could be performed by other health care workers, in nontraditional settings or be automated, freeing them to practice at the top of their license, a survey by Deloitte found.
Several states already allow advanced practice registered nurses (such as nurse practitioners) and physician assistants to practice independently. You can see a breakdown by state here. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed legislation allowing nurse practitioners more — though not total — independence. Qualifying NPs must first complete three years or 4,600 hours of “transition to practice” experience.
Many times State-level laws do not come with guidance for how changes will impact practice, so it’s incumbent on you and your counsel to determine whether rulings will require revision to your bylaws. “Take a look at and finalize your own rules and regulations around policies to see what, if anything, needs to be updated,” Ferguson says.
As local governments and the federal government continue to combat COVID-19, more changes could be on the horizon in 2021. Whether verifying and monitoring represented licensed workers at healthcare institutions or patient homes, please contact Atlas to find out how we can help automate the process in order to increase compliance and patient safety.
Smart Screening, Intelligent Hiring, Proactive Alerts, Effective Compliance and Peace of Mind.