Financial Impact of CARES Act on Healthcare Providers

by  Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
April 13th, 2020

The recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has several provisions to ease the financial burden being faced by healthcare providers who have been impacted by the effect of the coronavirus. Some key provisions include:

The remainder of this article covers two topics which apply to many, if not all, healthcare providers and organizations billing Medicare.

Provider Relief Fund 

As part of the CARES Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun distributing $30 billion. Beginning on April 10th, eligible providers (including chiropractors) will be paid an amount (based on their 2019 Medicare receipts) via a check or direct deposit (depending on how they usually are reimbursed by Medicare. These payments are not loans which need to be repaid. If you or your organization received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) payments in 2019, you are technically eligible. Payments will be made to the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) listed on the submitted claims. 

There is one catch: you have to agree to abide by their Term and Conditions. For more information about eligibility and these terms and conditions, CLICK HERE. It should be noted that even though the Terms and Conditions state that the provider certifies that it “currently provides diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19”, the HHS “CARES Act Provider Relief Fund” website page states (emphasis added), “Care does not have to be specific to treating COVID-19. HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19.” To limit potential future audit concerns, documentation of the patient encounter should mention that certain risk-reduction measures were implemented due to potential exposure to COVID-19.

If you don’t want to worry about this issue or don’t agree to the Terms and Conditions, then you must contact HHS within 30 days of receipt of payment and then return the full payment to HHS as instructed. Not returning funds means that you agree to their terms.

Accelerated and Advance Payment Program

This program is different from the Provider Relief Fund program explained above. This is basically a loan for which the provider applies and which they must repay. Healthcare providers need to complete an application where they specify a requested amount. CMS stated that “ Most providers and suppliers will be able to request up to 100% of the Medicare payment amount for a three-month period.” Some organizations may be able to request more.

For a more comprehensive explanation, CLICK HERE.

References:

Financial Impact of CARES Act on Healthcare Providers. (2020, April 13). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from https://www.findacode.com/articles/impact-of-cares-act-on-healthcare-providers-36569.html

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