As efforts to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 continue to evolve, the Trump administration on March 30 issued a series of new flexibilities aimed at increasing hospital and provider capacity. At the same time, CMS provided some respite to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans dealing with the crisis by suspending audit and quality reporting activities so that plans and states can focus on providing care to the increasing number of beneficiaries affected by the new coronavirus. While those changes will enable CMS to issue star quality ratings for 2021, the potential impact of COVID-19 on payment rates for next year remained unclear.
COVID-19, declared a pandemic last month, has had more than 200,000 documented cases in the U.S. — with the most cases and deaths confirmed in New York state — according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. President Donald Trump on March 13 declared a national emergency as a result of the pandemic, allowing for waivers of certain Medicare and Medicaid requirements to address the outbreak that have been rolled out over the past few weeks.