Hospitals ask Congress to suspend recoupment of advance Medicare payments

The American Hospital Association is urging Congress to give hospitals more flexibility and time to repay accelerated Medicare payments. 

CMS provided about $90 billion in accelerated payments to hospitals during the initial phase of the pandemic. The AHA said these advanced payments served as critical lifelines to hospitals and health systems amid the pandemic, but the recoupment could place hospitals "back in financial jeopardy."

As a result, the AHA is urging Congress to suspend repayments for six months and allow for recoupment after the suspension of 25 percent of Medicare claims for one year. 

"Recoupment of these payments is creating a significant financial burden on hospital and health systems during the ongoing pandemic," the AHA said. 

Under the Continuing Appropriations Act, hospitals must begin paying back the loan to CMS one year from the date the payment was issued. CMS will recoup the payments for 11 months at a rate of 25 percent, after which CMS will recover the remaining funds at a rate of 50 percent for six months. After the six-month period, CMS will issue a demand letter for full repayment of any remaining balance and place a 4 percent interest rate on the remaining balance.

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