FAH and a group of hospital organizations sent a letter to HHS, CMS and congressional leaders this week encouraging improvements be made to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs.
The groups expressed appreciation for the quick action of lawmakers and officials in the Trump administration to provide resources to caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis.
The letter also pointed to additional things that can be done to make sure hospitals can continue to provide needed care – one of those is adjustments to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs.
The letter strongly supports reforms already being discussed by congressional leaders, including lowering the interest rate on such payments (currently 9.625 percent), increasing the length of the repayment period and allocating the funds from general revenues rather than from the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund.
“Such improvements are necessary to ensure that a program designed to address hospitals’ and other health care providers’ cash-flow issues associated with responding to COVID-19 does not inadvertently exacerbate these issues once the repayment period begins,” the groups wrote.
Other improvements to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs suggested by the hospital groups include:
- Increase the amount that can be advanced to hospitals from three or six months of Medicare payments to 12 months of Medicare payments;
- Extend the period before repayment begins from four months to at least 12 months;
- Reduce the amount of the Medicare claim reduction during repayment from 100 percent to no more than 25 percent;
- Extend the repayment period before interest begins to accrue from 12 months to a minimum of 36 months; and
- Waive the interest rate (or the collection of interest); at a minimum, the interest rate should be no more than two percent.
In addition to FAH, America’s Essential Hospitals, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Premier healthcare alliance and Vizient, Inc. signed onto the letter.
The full letter can be found here.