Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Sept. 21
Posted on September 25, 2020
As the coronavirus follows the world into yet another season, the MHA continues to keep members apprised of developments affecting Michigan hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.
Congress Extends Medicare Advance Payment Loan Repayment
U.S. House of Representatives leadership reached an agreement Sept. 22 on a Continuing Resolution to prevent the federal government from shutting down Oct. 1, which also includes two important provisions for hospitals. H.R. 8337, Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act of 2020, delays until Dec. 11, 2020, previously proposed Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts. It also delays the deadline for loan repayment of COVID-19-related Medicare Advanced Payments to 12 months from the date an organization received its advanced payments. The language in the bill summary on these two issues states:
- Section 2303. Delay of DSH reductions. Section 2303 delays implementation of the allotment reductions for Medicaid disproportionate share hospitals through December 11, 2020.
- Section 2501. Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program Changes. Section 2501 extends both the period before repayment begins and the period before the balance must be repaid in full, reduces the recoupment percentage, and lowers the interest rate for payments made under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs and comparable programs between the date of enactment of the CARES Act and the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
While the MHA believes the steps taken in the H.R. 8377 are positive, the association will continue to work with the American Hospital Association to urge full forgiveness of the Medicare advanced payments, given the magnitude of the impact COVID-19 has had on hospitals and their patients. Members with questions may contact Laura Appel at the MHA.
HHS Issues Notice on Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements
The HHS released a notice Sept. 19 regarding reporting requirements for healthcare providers that received Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments. This notice includes the categories of data elements that recipients must submit for calendar years 2019 and 2020. It is also a supporting document to its Aug. 14 post-payment notice of reporting requirements. The HHS stated that the reporting system will now be available in early 2021.
According to the guidelines, if recipients do not use all PRF funds by the end of calendar year 2020, they will have six additional months in which to use remaining funds. The funds may be used toward COVID-19 expenses that aren’t reimbursed by other sources or to apply toward lost revenues in an amount not to exceed the 2019 net gain.
The agency indicates these requirements will apply to any provider that received one or more payment totaling at least $10,000. The HHS will make an additional frequently asked questions document available prior to the reporting deadline. The MHA is working closely with the AHA on next steps and will keep members apprised.
Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC). Members with MHA-specific questions should contact the following MHA staff members:
Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Member News