COVID-19 Update: Clarification on Emergency-Based Waivers Guidance

AOPA has received questions and concerns from members about CMS guidance regarding replacement of DMEPOS during COVID-19. To address these questions and concerns, AOPA has been in contact with the DME MACs to discuss actions that they will take to implement the provisions of these emergency-based waivers.

During a recent presentation the DME MACs addressed some of our questions. Specifically, they stated that the 1135 waivers only apply to replacements that are necessary as a direct result of the emergency. For example, a patient is being transported to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms and the brace is lost in the ambulance.

A beneficiary’s inability to make an appointment or see the referring physician does not qualify under the waivers current provisions. It must also be stressed that the waivers don’t apply to new services such as socket replacements.

When providing a replacement item under the waiver, suppliers are reminded to include a narrative description explaining why the item needs to be replaced with their claims and must maintain documentation for the need of the replacement item. Suppliers must also use the CR modifier on their claims. Find more information on the waiver here.

CMS and the DME MACs continue to make sure every effort is made to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries continue to have complete access to clinically appropriate medical care during this emergency. And as a result, information and guidance is continually being released and revised. AOPA will continue to provide this information and guidance as it becomes available.

In the meantime, AOPA members should continue to make every effort to obtain the appropriate documentation to support the O&P services they provide.

Questions? Contact Joe McTernan at or Devon Bernard at