$1 trillion stimulus plan boosts pay to hospitals, freezes cuts: 4 notes for hospital execs

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Senate Republicans released their $1 trillion stimulus proposal on March 19, which is intended to deliver aid to the American public and US businesses and head off an economic disaster caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The legislation, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, includes cash payments to some Americans and relief for several major industries, including healthcare. Senate Republicans will now negotiate the terms of the final bill with Congressional Democrats.

Here are four takeaways from the proposal for hospital executives:

1. Medicare sequester. The 247-page legislation temporarily freezes a 2 percent reduction in Medicare payments mandated under federal sequestration. Senate Republicans proposed suspending the Medicare sequester from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. However, the proposal extends the sequestration end date from fiscal year 2029 to fiscal year 2030.

2. Add-on payments. Under the proposal, hospitals would receive a 15 percent inpatient add-on payment for treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

3. Supplemental funding for health centers. Community health centers would receive $1.32 billion in supplemental funding in fiscal year 2020 for detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

4. Telehealth expansion. The proposal temporarily lifts the requirements that physicians have established relationships with patients before using telehealth and that physicians have face-to-face visits with home dialysis patients, according to Inside Health Policy

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