Robert Campbell, PharmD, director, clinical standards interpretation for hospital/ambulatory programs
Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of The Joint Commission’s daily communication on issues relevant to organizations managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The full list of FAQs is available here. All examples are for illustrative purposes only.
Is it acceptable, in lieu of notifying the physician when visit frequency orders are not being followed, to update the frequency orders to read something like, “May conduct virtual/telemedicine visits if unable to visit patient in his/her home”? If so, is it necessary to update all related hands-on treatment orders associated with the visit frequency included in the plan? Examples may include:
- weekly weights
- vital signs
- pulse oximetry
- lab draws
- dressing changes
- catheter changes
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stated that hospice providers can provide services to a Medicare patient receiving routine home care through telehealth, if it is feasible and appropriate to do so. In addition, hospice providers can utilize telemedicine for their required re-certification visits.
Home Health Agencies
For home health agencies (HHAs), CMS has stated more services to beneficiaries can be made using telehealth, so long as it’s part of the patient’s plan of care and does not replace needed in-person visits as ordered on the plan of care.
Orders need to accurately reflect the care to be provided by the staff and the current frequency the patient is being visited.
Organizations that use Joint Commission accreditation for deemed status purposes should monitor the CMS website as waivers are being approved frequently and may include state-specific waivers.
The Joint Commission: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance and Resources