CARES Act Helps Healthcare Providers
New Law Assists Those Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic looms large over the global economy – especially for healthcare providers and professionals. On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. This $2 trillion stimulus package is aimed at providing much-needed relief for businesses and individuals, alike.
Many pieces of the CARES Act impact the healthcare industry directly. Although the information that follows is not exhaustive, it’s a summary of the larger healthcare portions. Reach out to your Adams Brown advisor to learn more about the legislation’s impact on you and your practice.
There’s good news for healthcare providers. As a way to help boost revenue:
Suspended Reduction in Medicare Payments
The automatic 2% cut that was scheduled to reduce Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors was suspended through the end of the year (December 31, 2020). As a result, you will see more money reimbursed.
The planned sequestration (decrease in reimbursements) was expanded to 2030 so the cuts aren’t as drastic as originally scheduled through the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Increased Medicare Payments
Hospitals treating COVID-19 patients will receive a 20% increase in Medicare payment.
Eliminated Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS)
The 15% cut in the Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) for 2021 was eliminated. Originally intended for 2021-2023, the 15% cap was pushed to 2022-2024. Payment rate reporting requirement for labs were also delayed for a year.
Lifted Telehealth Restrictions
Medicare telehealth restrictions are lifted which means physicians no longer need pre-existing relationships.
Waived Face-to-Face Rules
End-stage renal disease face-to-face rules were waived so rural health clinics can use telehealth and be reimbursed at a rate similar to the national average for comparable service under Medicare physician fee schedule.
Emergency Funds & Loans Available
There is $100 billion available in an emergency fund for eligible providers for healthcare related expenses or lost revenue from COVID-19. You need to submit an application with a statement justifying the need. From there, the Department of Health and Human Services will review your application and determine who receives funds and for what purpose.
An additional $1.32 billion in supplemental awards are available for community health centers to prevent & treat COVID-19.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
To promote telehealth and strengthen healthcare in rural areas, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) was reauthorized.
Provider Payments Accelerated
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) payment policy was expanded to accelerate payments. This includes:
- Increased prepayment from 70% to 100% of expected Medicare payments. The rate is 125% for critical access hospitals.
- Increased length of time for accelerated payments from three to six months.
- Delayed recoupment of overpayment from 90 to 120 days.
- Extended due dates for outstanding balances from 90 days to one year.
- FACT SHEET: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Accelerated & Advanced Payments
Keep an Eye Out for More Information
While the CARES Act provides good news to the healthcare industry, you never know what may happen next. There are still many unknowns about COVID-19 and the legislation that will come about as a result. From clarification on the CARES Act to new legislation, the government is stepping up to assist you in a big way.
Stay tuned for more information and, as always, contact your Adams Brown advisor for more information.
For more information about the resources available to you and your business, visit our Coronavirus Resource Center.