Pandemic Flexibilities in Long-Term Care

October 6, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed both new and longstanding needs of long-term care patients. Congress and the administration modified over 200 Medicare regulations, which has afforded response flexibility to providers, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D plans. But how do these flexibilities impact the long-term care sector? Experts overviewed the recent changes, remaining gaps, and benefits and risks to long-term care patients, caregivers, providers, and payers. Panelists discussed whether similar actions should be replicated in future public health emergencies and highlight policy options to bolster the long-term care system moving forward.


  • David C. Grabowski, Ph.D., Professor of Health Care Policy, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
  • Eric De Jonge, M.D., Chief of Geriatrics, Capital Caring Health, Chair, Public Policy Committee for AAHCM
  • Gretchen Jacobson, Ph.D., Vice President, Medicare, The Commonwealth Fund (moderator)

This event was made possible with support from The Commonwealth Fund.

Event Resources

Additional Resources

Event Resources

Key Resources

“Long-Term Care Policy After COVID-19 – Solving the Nursing Home Crisis.” Werner, R., Hoffman, A., Coe, N. The New England Journal of Medicine. September 3, 2020. Available at

“Commission Final Report.” Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes.September 2020. Available here

“Strengthening Nursing Home Policy for the Postpandemic World: How Can We Improve Residents’ Health Outcomes and Experiences?” Grabowski, D. The Commonwealth Fund. August 20, 2020. Available at

“Physicians and Other Clinicians: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. August 20, 2020. Available at

“CMS Payment Policies & Regulatory Flexibilities During COVID-19 Emergency.” American Medical Association. August 17, 2020. Available at

“Regulatory Changes to Medicare in Response to COVID-19.” Podulka, J., Blum, J. The Commonwealth Fund. August 4, 2020. Available at

“Early Impact of CMS Expansions of Medicare Telehealth During COVID-19.” Verma, S. Health Affairs. July 15, 2020. Available at

“Long-Term Services & Supports State Scorecard.” AARP, The Commonwealth Fund, The SCAN Foundation. 2020. Available at

Additional Resources

“Experiences of Nursing Home Residents during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Montgomery, A., Slocum, S., Stanik, C., Altarum. October 1, 2020.

“The Overlooked COVID Crisis in America’s Assisted Living Facilities.” Paulin, E. AARP. September 29, 2020.

“Verma: CMS Will Mull Which COVID-19 Flexibilities May Stick Around Post-Pandemic.” Minemyer, P. Fierce Healthcare. September 21, 2020. Available at

“AARP Answers: Nursing Homes and the Coronavirus.” Markowitz, A. American Association for Retired Persons. September 17, 2020. Available at

“Telemedicine: What Should the Post-Pandemic Regulatory and Payment Landscape Look Like?” Mehrota, A., Wang, B., Snyder, G. The Commonwealth Fund. August 5, 2020. Available at

“Key Questions About Nursing Home Regulation and Oversight in the Wake of COVID-19.” Musumeci, M., Chidambaram, P. Kaiser Family Foundation. August 3, 2020. Available at

“Building the Long-Term Care System of the Future: Will the COVID-19 Nursing Home Tragedies Lead to Real Reform?” Chernof, B., Mann, C. Health Affairs. July 31, 2020. Available at

“Telehealth: Delivering Care Safely During COVID-19.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. July 15, 2020.  Available at

“Solving the COVID-19 Crisis in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care.” Laxton, C., Nace, D., Nazir, A. The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. June 16, 2020. Available at

“Reimagining the Nursing Home Industry After the Coronavirus.” Eaton, J. AARP. June 8, 2020. Available at

“More Flexibility Still Needed in Health Care for COVID-19 Response.” Schaefer, N. The Heritage Foundation. June 8, 2020. Available at

“Grappling With COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities.” Strohman, A. American Action Forum. May 15, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 Issues and Medicaid Policy Options for People Who Need Long-Term Services and Supports.” Musumeci, M., Chidambaram, P. Kaiser Family Foundation. April 16, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 Helpful Links.” National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care. 2020. Available at

“Medicare & Coronavirus.” U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2020. Available at



Eric DeJonge
Capital Caring Health
Chief of Geriatrics

David Grabowski  
Harvard Medical School
Professor of Health Care Policy

Gretchen Jacobson
The Commonwealth Fund
Vice President, Medicare

Experts and Analysts

Jonathan Blum
Health Management Associates
Vice President, Federal Policy and Managing Director, Medicare

Cindy Mann   
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Vincent Mor
Brown University, Florence Pirce Grant University Professor
Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice

Jennie Chin Hansen  
Altarum, Senior Strategic Advisor;
The SCAN Foundation, Board Chair


Larry Bonander
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Deputy Director, Medicare

Lance Robertson             
U.S. Department Health and Human Services
Assistant Secretary for Aging, Administrator of the Administration for Community Living

Stephanie Cameron
Assistant Director

Edwin Walker
Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging


Jean Accius
Senior Vice President, AARP Global Thought Leadership

Michael J. Barnett     
National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care
Manager of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs

Alison Barkoff   
Center for Public Representation
Director of Advocacy

Gina Buccalo   
UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust
Chief Medical Officer

Richard Feifer 
Genesis HealthCare
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Christine Aguiar Lynch
Association for Community Affiliated Plans
Vice President for Medicare and MLTSS Policy

Anne Montgomery
Co-Director, Program to Improve Eldercare

Shannon McCracken
Vice President, Government Relations

Cheryl Phillips   
Special Needs Plan Alliance
President and CEO

Rylin Rodgers
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Director of Public Policy

Maria Town
American Association of People with Disabilities
President and CEO

Scott Tittle     
National Center for Assisted Living
Executive Director


(This is an unedited transcript. For accurate quotes and presentations, please refer to the full-event video.)