QUESTION: In response to COVID-19, we recently relocated a hospital provider-based department to a patient’s home. What information do we need to provide to the CMS Regional Office?
ANSWER: For the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, CMS has expanded its extraordinary circumstances relocation exception policy. According to its April 30, 2020 Final Interim Rule, CMS will permit hospitals to relocate excepted off-campus and on-campus provider-based departments (“PBD”) to off-campus locations. This includes the ability to expand or relocate a department into a patient’s home.
A hospital that relocates its PBD off-campus must submit a relocation request by email to its CMS Regional Office providing notice and details of its relocation efforts. Specifically, the hospital’s request should include the following information:
- The hospital’s CMS Certification Number (“CCN”)
- The address of the current PBD
- The address of the relocated PBD
- The date on which the hospital began furnishing services at the new PBD
- A brief justification for the relocation and the role of the relocation in the hospital’s response to COVID-19
- An attestation that the relocation is not inconsistent with their state’s emergency preparedness/pandemic plan
Note that a hospital’s justification for relocation should explain why the new PBD location is an appropriate location to furnish outpatient services. In an effort to preserve patient confidentiality, however, the hospital should refrain from referencing patient names of diagnoses in its submissions.
A hospital that relocates a PBD to an off-campus location, such as a patient’s home, will have 120 days from the date on which they began furnishing and billing for services at the relocated site to submit notification to CMS. In addition, hospitals may include multiple relocation notifications in one e-mail, so long as each submission falls within the 120-day requirement.