COVID-19: Home Care and Home and Community-Based Service Providers

On August 11, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it's streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. DHS is currently reviewing CDC updates and will update our guidance accordingly.

This guidance applies to the following:

  • 1–2 bed adult family homes
  • Supported living apartments
  • Adult day services
  • Adult day care centers
  • Adult day programs
  • Adult employment and prevocational programs
  • Home care agencies
  • Supportive home care agencies
  • Home health agencies
  • Hospice
  • Personal care agencies
  • Private duty nursing services
 

These homes, facilities, agencies, and services are collectively referred to as “providers.” Individuals receiving services from these providers are referred to as “participants.” By helping providers improve their infection prevention and control practices in order to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, together, we can flatten the curve.

Providers should monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) websites for the most current information and resources related to COVID-19 and also contact their local public health department when needed.

DHS recommends the following actions in accordance with Wis. Stat. Chs. 50 and 252, Wis. Admin. Code Ch. DHS 145, and CMS guidance. 

Resources

Regulatory and policy changes

Division of Quality Assurance Waivers and Variances for Home Health Agencies, Hospices, and Personal Care Agencies

The DHS Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) will notify providers through its existing notification process if any waivers of Wisconsin Administrative Code are issued. DQA-regulated home health agencies, hospices, and personal care agencies can apply for an individual waiver or variance to Wisconsin Administrative Code by completing and submitting the Waiver or Variance Request form, F-02527. Home health agencies, hospices, and personal care agencies are encouraged to notify the managed care organizations with which they contract if they receive DQA approval for an individual waiver or variance. 

Department of Safety and Professional Services Waivers and Variances

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is responsible for licensing requirements for registered nurses (RNs) and other health care professionals. Refer to the DSPS website for the most current information on waivers and more.

ForwardHealth (Medicaid) Policy Changes

Providers should review the ForwardHealth Portal for information about ForwardHealth (Medicaid) policies that may have changed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. For specific questions about COVID-19 as it relates to ForwardHealth (Medicaid) coverage and policy, please contact DHS.

Federal Regulation Waivers

CMS has issued blanket waivers of some federal regulations. Federal requirements without a blanket waiver remain in effect. To request a waiver of a federal requirement not covered under a blanket waiver, a provider must submit a request for a Section 1135 waiver on an individual basis to CMS. Providers should review the CMS 1135 waiver guide to ensure their request contains all necessary information and elements. Questions regarding Section 1135 waivers should be emailed to CMS 1135 waiver. Providers are encouraged to notify the managed care organizations with which they contract if they receive CMS approval for an individual waiver.  

Note: A federal waiver does not necessarily waive Wisconsin Administrative Code. Providers should review state policy pertaining to the services rendered.

Last Revised: July 26, 2022

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