Over nearly the last two years, nothing has become more evident that the importance of clear and concise communication during care transitions. As health care facilities struggled to manage the burgeoning demand for inpatient beds, and in particular ICU beds, care transitions were fast and furious. To facilitate care delivery and expedite care transitions, CMS issued numerous 1135 COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers. Examples (not an exhaustive list) of those blanket waivers related to required communications that may have affected the quality or safety of care during and immediately after care transitions include:
- Allowance of audio-only telehealth for certain services.
- Waiver of the requirement to authenticate verbal orders within 48 hours.
- Restrictions on patient rights regarding visitation, particularly where an outbreak of COVID exists.
- Limitations on detailed information sharing for discharge planning for hospitals and critical access hospitals.
- Extension of time within which to complete medical records following discharge.
- Expansion of role of allied health professionals, reduction in physician supervision requirements in certain settings, and
- Waiver of requirement to develop and keep current a nursing care plan for each patient.