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October 8, 2020

COVID-19 Financial Relief Update

New Provider Relief Funds are now available to more physicians - including those who have already received payments. In other news, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has provided updates to MIPS program exceptions, and the deadline for repaying Medicare's advance payments has been extended.

New $20 billion Provider Relief Fund disbursement now available

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that $20 billion in new funding will be available for physicians and providers on the front lines of the pandemic. The application period for eligible practitioners is now open, and will extend through Friday, Nov. 6.

Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, physicians who have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. HHS is making a large number of previously ineligible physicians and providers eligible for Phase 3 General Distribution funding, including:

  • Those who previously received, rejected, or accepted a general distribution Provider Relief Fund payment. Physicians who have already received payments of approximately 2% of annual revenue from patient care may submit more information to become eligible for an additional payment.
  • Behavioral health physicians and providers, including those who previously received funding.
  • Physicians and other health care providers who began practicing Jan. 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, dentists, assisted living facilities, and behavioral health practitioners.

HHS is recommending that you apply early; do not wait until the last day or week of the application period. Applying early will help to expedite the review process and payment calculations, and ultimately accelerate the distribution of all payments. For more information on the methodology and application process, the full press release can be found here.

CMS provides two exceptions to meeting MIPS program requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is providing two opportunities to apply for exceptions to meeting its Merit-based Incentive Payment System program requirements:

Both application windows are open through Dec. 31. For more information, visit Medicare's Quality Payment Program webpage and the 2020 Quality Payment Program exception applications fact sheet.

Medicare Advance Payment Program repayment deadline extended

Under a new congressional resolution, recoupment of Medicare advance payments will not begin until 365 days after the payment was issued, with the balance due by September 2022. It also reduces the per claim recoupment amount from 100% to 25% for the first 11 months and then 50% for an additional six months. If not repaid in full by September 2022, interest payments will be imposed, however the interest rate has been lowered from 10.25% to 4%. The WSMA continues to advocate to Washington's congressional delegation and CMS to not subject practices to repayment or recoupment.

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