Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services started a Accelerated and Advance Payment Program when the pandemic hit as admissions and office visits dropped. Big industry groups are advocating for more relief as hospitals and providers continue to struggle during COVID-19. Provider Medicare payments extensions and relief continues as President Trump signed a continuing resolution on Thursday, October 1st to extend the advanced payments during the pandemic. The new law will give providers a year before CMS will recoup the advanced payments paid during the emergency period with lower interest rates, and more favorable repayment terms aiming to preserve quality of care.
While lawmakers are looking to loan forgiveness as a long term solution to the repayments, CMS is unlikely to budge. Some of the funds used to assist hospitals and providers were from Medicare trust funds unlike the Provider Relief Funds which were paid from the federal government. With a depleted trust fund, Medicare is unlikely to allow loan forgiveness and many providers are encouraged to pay off they advanced payments before they turn into overpayments and begin accruing interest. Once this happens, the Department of Treasury can get involved to recoup on providers unwilling to pay what is owed via their tax refunds, for example.
While large healthcare industry groups advocate for further relief, Congress has stalled on make progress on a bill since the CARES Act. Talks will continue admits the Presidential election and pandemic developments.
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