CMS implements new staffing flexibility for 85 ASCs enrolled as hospitals

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CMS is expanding flexibility under its "Hospitals Without Walls" initiative, which allows hospitals to provide inpatient care in ASCs and other temporary expansion sites as part of their COVID-19 response efforts.

Three things to know:

1. Under an update to the Hospitals Without Walls program, ASCs enrolled as hospitals are not required to provide 24-hour nursing services unless one or more patient is receiving care on site.

2. Effective immediately for the 85 ASCs currently participating, the program update will enable ASCs "to flex up their staffing when needed" and allow vulnerable patients to receive life-saving, non-COVID-19 care in settings without known COVID-19 cases, CMS said.

3. Any of the country's 5,732 Medicare-certified ASCs are eligible to participate in the program, which is intended to help communities alleviate hospital capacity constraints for the duration of the public health crisis.

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