This blog publishes information typically sent through the Health Facilities Web Portal to health care entities regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Please note that the Web Portal is the official medium for business communication between the Department and licensed and Medicare/Medicaid certified health care entities. Health care entities should continue to monitor their portal accounts routinely.
In response to the blanket 1135 waivers issued by CMS, we received a request to look at our state regulations around Dialysis Treatment Clinics, Chapter 15, specifically the requirements that dialysis technicians achieve and maintain national credentials. Individuals may experience difficulty attaining and maintaining these credentials during the COVID-19 crisis, but the Department recognizes the need of Dialysis Treatment Centers to continue providing critical services to patients.
To allow Dialysis Treatment Centers to maintain operations during this time, and to bring consistency to State and Federal regulations, the following Chapter 15 regulations will be waived for all licensed Dialysis Treatment Centers, with no waiver application necessary. First, 6 CCR 1011-1, Chapter 15, Part 5.5.3(B), which requires credentials to be obtained within 18 months of beginning employment. Second, Part 5.6.2(B), which requires a facility to maintain records regarding the date an employee obtains national credentials. These waivers remove the requirement for employees to obtain or maintain national credentials, and will remain in place as long as necessary during the COVID-19 crisis. However, the requirement that all dialysis technicians operate under the supervision of an appropriately trained physician or registered nurse remains in effect.
On March 31st, the Division made a waiver application available for licensed-only agencies to meet specified observation, supervision, and evaluation requirements through telehealth methods rather than in-person or on-site. The waiver also allowed certain therapy services to be provided via interactive audiovisual connections. At the time the application was distributed, CMS certified home health agencies were not eligible to apply due to limitations in CMS regulations. CMS has begun issuing waivers of some requirements, so the Division is now making the waiver application available to all Class A and Class B Home Care Agencies. Please note that CMS certified agencies must continue to comply with certification requirements, and must only implement the waiver of state regulations to the extent allowable under current CMS regulations and waivers.
Similar to the waiver distributed on March 31, 2020, due to the need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and protect both healthcare workers and homecare clients, the Division will expedite this waiver process. Successful waiver applications will receive approval within 2 days after submission. Division staff will contact agencies with any questions.
Licensed-only facilities that have already applied for a waiver using the form distributed March 31, 2020 do NOT need to submit this waiver application.
CDPHE continues to explore additional options to ease the burden for providers during this public health emergency. We will provide updates as they become available.