In emergencies such as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, government health agencies have the authority to grant waivers for various federal health programs. Starting on March 23, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waived certain requirements and protocols for providers and beneficiaries.   

"Thanks to the decisive leadership of President Trump during this emergency, CMS has been able to swiftly remove barriers and cut red tape for our state partners," CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated in a press release. "These waivers give a broad range of states the regulatory relief and support they need to more quickly and effectively care for their most vulnerable citizens."  

When he declared the pandemic a national emergency , the president authorized CMS to immediately remove some of the barriers and apply the new rules for the duration of the public health crisis. CMS’s temporary actions empower hospitals and healthcare systems to:  

  • Increase hospital capacity through temporary expansion sites   

  • Rapidly expand the healthcare workforce  

  • Put patients over paperwork  

  • Further promote telehealth in Medicare  

Medicaid provides additional educational resources for the public like disaster resource by state, a 1135 waiver checklist, and templates and instructions.