The House on Tuesday passed a bipartisan resolution to extend federal government funding until December 11 and avoid government shutdown at the end of the month.
Included in the CR is an extension of the time allowed for hospitals to repay loans under the accelerated and early payment programs.
Hospitals benefit from a 120-day extension of the loan to 29 months from the date of the first payment. The CR stipulates that during the first 11 months in which such payment offsets are made, 25% of the amount is due; over the next 6 months, 50% of the amount is due; and hospitals are given 29 months from the date of the first payment before requiring the outstanding balance to be paid in full.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
While some providers hoped that the relief fund loans would turn into grants, it would put a strain on the Medicare Trust Fund.
On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Committee leaders released a letter expressing concern over the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ decision to extend the $ 40 billion program without Congressional approval or a transparent and public analysis of its potential impact on the Medicare program. and its beneficiaries.
They said CMS lacked transparency in expanding expedited and prepayment programs beyond the scope allowed by Congress in the Coronavirus Help, Relief and Economic Security Act.
CMS has expanded eligibility to more Medicare Part A providers and included some Part B providers without considering the program’s creditworthiness, they said in the letter to the Secretary of the Department of Health and of Social Services, Alex Azar, and CMS administrator, Seema Verma.
“The AAP is intended to help certain providers in emergency situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the CARES Act has expanded the number of eligible providers and increased the maximum payment amount,” said President Richard E Neal (D-MA), House Energy and Trade Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Democratic health leaders have requested answers to a series of questions and a briefing to understand the impact of the unauthorized expansion of the AAP program by CMS by October 2.
THE BIGGEST TREND
In May, Presidents Neal and Pallone raised concerns about CMS’s methodology for distributing COVID-19 loans from the AAP program and the Provider Relief Fund, and called on HHS and CMS to provide more transparency to Congress.
Congress has allocated $ 100 billion in the CARES Act and $ 75 billion under the Paycheck Protection Program and the Better Health Care for Health Care Providers Act. These payments do not need to be refunded.
An Expedited / Advance Payment is a payment intended to provide the necessary funds in the event of an interruption in the submission of complaints and / or the processing of complaints. These expedited payments may also be offered in circumstances such as national emergencies or natural disasters to speed up cash flow to healthcare providers and healthcare providers. Need an urgent loan? Check out and see as it is publish via OakParkFinancial
On April 26, CMS announced that it was reassessing the amounts that will be paid under its expedited payment program and that it was suspending its early payment program to Part B vendors.
“By expanding the scope of eligible providers beyond what Congress has authorized, we are concerned that CMS has jeopardized the integrity of the hospital and supplementary health insurance trust funds in a way which threatens the long-term financial viability of the program, would significantly increase Part B premium and could impede beneficiary access, ”the Committee leaders said. “We are requesting additional information and an immediate briefing to understand the full impact of CMS’s unauthorized decision to expand AAP programs.”
Dr Bruce Siegel, US Essential Hospitals, thanked House leaders for facilitating the repayment of Medicare early and early payment loans and for delaying disproportionate Medicaid payment cuts. But he called on Congress and the administration to provide more support to hospitals as COVID-19 cases continue to strain hospital resources this fall and winter.
“Our hospitals continue to experience the high costs and revenue losses associated with COVID-19, and they welcome the relief that this continued resolution would bring,” he said. Additionally, the further delay in the reductions in DSH will help hospitals and Congress work towards a lasting solution to the threat these reductions pose to access to health care for low-income patients.
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