Skilled nursing facilities can petition CMS to waive bed limits under H1N1 national emergency declaration

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Skilled nursing facilities can petition CMS to waive bed limits under H1N1 national emergency declar
Skilled nursing facilities can petition CMS to waive bed limits under H1N1 national emergency declar

President Obama has declared the H1N1 flu pandemic a national emergency. As a result, skilled nursing facilities can petition the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a waiver to increase the number of certified beds.

The action of declaring a national emergency allows the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to waive or modify certain Medicare and Medicaid provisions that may prevent healthcare providers from implementing their disaster operations plans. Under the declaration, hospitals can petition for waivers to establish alternate patient screening locations and transfer patients between emergency departments.

Section 1135 waivers also were granted for Hurricane Katrina, the presidential inauguration this year (as a precautionary measure), Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, and North Dakota flooding earlier this year.