CMS’ $30B Provider Relief Advance: More Strings / Less Clarity

By Freed Maxick on April 21, 2020
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healthcare article

What healthcare providers should be considering.

New call-to-actionOn March 27, President Trump signed into the law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which included $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. The Fund reimburses eligible health care providers for expenses and lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.

On April 7, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator, Seema Verma, announced details regarding distribution of the first $30 billion of the fund, which are being released to Medicare providers in the form of “no strings attached” grants. According to Administrator Verma, the funding, which started on April 10, will be in the form of grants based on Medicare revenue, and providers will be permitted to spend the funds “any way they see fit.” The funds will be allocated to Medicare providers proportionately based on how much a given provider billed Medicare fee-for-service in 2019.

Despite Administrator Verma’s description of the funds as “no strings attached,” there are in fact, many attached strings. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), payment of the initial tranche of funds is conditioned on the health care providers acceptance of certain terms and conditions, which acceptance “must occur within 30 days of receipt of payment. If a provider receives payment and does not wish to comply with these Terms and Conditions, the provider must do the following: contact HHS within 30 days of receipt of payment and then remit the full payment to HHS as instructed.” The portal for signing the attestation will open the week of April 13, 2020.

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