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Interim Guidance for Remote Delivery of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program: Final Rule

This post was originally published on March 31st, 2020

Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

AGENCY: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

ACTION: Interim final rule with comment period (Pages 114 to 116)

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) expanded model Emergency Policy

1. Through this IFC, we are amending the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) expanded model to modify certain MDPP policies during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). Specifically, this IFC will permit certain beneficiaries to obtain the set of MDPP services more than once per lifetime, increase the number of virtual make-up sessions, and allow certain MDPP suppliers to deliver virtual MDPP sessions on a temporary basis. These changes are in response to COVID-19, which resulted in an interruption to expanded model services delivered by MDPP suppliers and/or prevented MDPP beneficiaries from attending sessions.

2. Throughout the rule making for the MDPP expanded model, we sought to ensure that the MDPP set of services would be delivered in-person, in a classroom based setting, within an established timeline. At the time, the priority CMS-1744-IFC 115 was placed on establishing a structured service that, when delivered within the confines of the rule, would create the least risk of fraud and abuse, increase the likelihood of success, and maintain the integrity of the data collected for evaluation purposes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to suspension of in-person class sessions and guidance from CDC that Medicare-age beneficiaries stay home.

3. In response, we will implement provisions that allow for temporary flexibilities that prioritize availability and continuity of services for MDPP suppliers and MDPP beneficiaries impacted by extreme and uncontrollable circumstances during the COVID-19 PHE. The changes in this IFC are applicable to MDPP suppliers, as defined in § 410.79(b), that are enrolled in MDPP as March 1, 2020, and MDPP beneficiaries as defined in § 410.79(b) who were receiving MDPP set of services as of March 1, 2020. Under these temporary flexibilities, the requirement for in-person attendance at the first core-session will remain in effect. As a result, if beneficiaries are prohibited from attending the first core session in person, suppliers will be unable to start any new cohorts with MDPP beneficiaries. All flexibilities described in this IFC will cease to be available at the conclusion of the PHE.

4. The CDC issued guidance to all National Diabetes Prevention Program suppliers on or about March 12, 2020, providing alternative delivery options during the COVID-19 national emergency, including encouraging organizations to use virtual make-up sessions as necessary, regardless of usual delivery mode; if virtual make-up sessions are not possible, organizations may pause offering classes. When classes resume, the CDC is allowing suppliers to pick up where they left off, or to restart the expanded model program from week one. It is our intent to conform with the CDC guidance where feasible, with the overall intent to minimize disruption of services for MDPP suppliers and MDPP beneficiaries; by allowing MDPP beneficiaries to maintain their eligibility.

5. We are amending the MDPP regulations to provide for certain changes, including allowing MDPP suppliers to either deliver MDPP services virtually or suspend in-person services and resume services at a later date. The limit to the number of virtual make-up sessions is waived for CMS-1744-IFC 116 MDPP suppliers with existing capabilities to provide services virtually, so long as the virtual services are furnished in a manner that is consistent with the CDC Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) standards for virtual sessions, follow the CDC-approved DPP curriculum requirements, and are provided upon the individual MDPP beneficiary’s request. In addition, the MDPP supplier may only furnish to the MDPP beneficiary a maximum of one session on the same day as a regularly scheduled session and a maximum of one virtual make-up session per week. Virtual make-up sessions may only be furnished to achieve attendance goals and may not be furnished to achieve weight-loss goals.

6. An MDPP supplier may offer to an MDPP beneficiary no more than: 15 virtual make-up sessions offered weekly during the core session period; 6 virtual make-up sessions offered monthly during the core maintenance session interval periods; and 12 virtual make-up sessions offered monthly during the ongoing maintenance session interval periods. In addition, these changes permit certain MDPP beneficiaries to obtain the set of MDPP services more than once per lifetime, for the limited purposes of allowing a pause in service and to provide the flexibilities that will allow MDPP beneficiaries to maintain eligibility for MDPP services despite a break in service, attendance, or weight loss achievement.

You can find the link to the rule here .


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