ASPS Advocates to Change CMS Emergency Program
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows CMS to improve cash flow by providing advanced Medicare payments to hospitals, physicians and other Medicare-participating providers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the weeks since the Agency released details of the expanded program, ASPS has been working with members of the United States Senate and a coalition of medical societies spearheaded by the American Medical Association (AMA) to ensure those who have sought relief via this program are not unduly penalized.
Accelerated or advance payments are a loan and must be repaid. Historically, the program required CMS to apply payments against future claims to "recoup" the loan. Instead of receiving normal claim payments during this time, the payment would instead go to reduce the total amount of the accelerated payment.
CMS currently expects repayment/recoupments will begin 120 days after the advance is received. Those unable to repay the loans will be charged interest on the difference between any amount recouped and the total advance payment amount. Based on current Treasury regulations and rates, the applicable interest rate is set at 10.25 percent.
Recognizing that there are significant concerns about the ability of physician practices to resume normal operations and repay this amount of money while patients remain at home and procedures continue to be delayed, ASPS has worked to identify alternative ways to fund both revenue losses and non-reimbursable expenses as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, ASPS has worked with 32 members of the Senate, calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to waive or modify interest rates for health care providers who've sought financial assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic through Medicare's Accelerated and Advance Payments Program.
ASPS will continue to work to ensure any additional financial stress points for our members are addressed quickly and can provide flexibility as we continue to battle the health and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.