FILE - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

(The Center Square) – The federal government has approved part of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s Medicaid waivers request to lift certain health-care requirements amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved waivers requests under Section 1135 that cut some of the red tape from Medicaid, Medicare and federal-backed health care for the state’s children. 

Some of those programs' requirements have been lifted nationwide through an emergency declaration by President Donald Trump.

The North Carolina waivers approved Monday will allow out-of-state providers to be paid for services in the state, as well as those who are not registered in the federal programs. In addition, the waivers allow offsite medical treatment to be covered and cuts down on prior authorization requirements in fee-for-service programs. The prescreening process for nursing homes for long-term care also will be suspended for 30 days. The appeal process for Medicaid will be extended from 90 days to up to 120 days.

Cooper has requested additional waivers for the state.

On Thursday, Cooper sent a letter addressed to Trump, asking that the CMS maintains coverage for those who are at risk of being removed from Medicaid, eliminate limits on critical access beds and broaden the limitations on coverage for home-based care.

Trump’s emergency declaration, issued March 13, offers blanket removal of the 25-bed and 96-hour stay limit at critical access hospitals. 

CMS is still working on Cooper’s other waiver requests, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director Calder Lynch said. An additional response may be forthcoming.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus.

As of Wednesday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 504 cases of COVID-19 in the state, including two deaths – one of which was a Virginia resident who was traveling through the state.

COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Most people who have it develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually the elderly and those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.