On January 31, 2020, a public health emergency was declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) within his authority under the Public Health Service Act. Titled ‘Determination that a Public Health Emergency Exists Nationwide as the Result of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus’, the declaration is retroactive to January 27, 2020 and follows a declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) avowing the spread of the virus as a public health emergency of international concern.
Then, on March 23, 2020, the Secretary executed the “Waiver of Modification of Requirements Under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act as a Result of the of the Consequences of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus” triggering the availability of 1135 Waivers for healthcare care providers and facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the applicable regulations included:
- Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988 (Stafford Act) Pub. L. No. 93-288, as amended; 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121–5207
- Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d)
- Sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)
- Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (SSA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5)
Since the announcement of the national public health emergency, many of us have been left wondering what else has been relaxed, and what will continue being enforced. For instance, if you’re tasked with conducting your annual security risk assessment, what are your obligations as a licensed professional to report negative findings?
In addition to updated guidance, waivers, and guidance, the United States passed record-breaking financial stimulus packages. So while the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in many unexpected ways over the past eight months, a day of reckoning may be on the horizon.
For organizations who improperly used funds, or who overly-relaxed their compliance programs, there could be all sorts of audits and fines ahead. Whether your organization took federal funds, loosened your compliance standards, or altered your compliance program in any way, it’s time to start preparing for the future of our new normal.
By knowing what the OIG will be auditing and investigating in the months and years ahead, you’ll be able to assure your organization’s compliance. Which is why I’ll be hosting a new webinar I’m calling, “What Audits and Investigations Can You Expect in The New Normal?,” where we’ll focus on:
- Which Types of Audits and Investigations Will Occur as a Result of COVID Relief
- What New Regulations are Likely to Occur Once Waivers Expire
- How Compliance Programs Can be Proactive and Prepared for the New Normal