Hospitals need more time to repay advanced Medicare payments, FAH says

Hospitals should have a full year, not three months, to start paying back loans disbursed under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, the Federation of American Hospitals said in a June 16 policy blog.

As part of Congress' federal COVID-19 relief package, the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program allowed hospitals to receive three to six months of their usual Medicare fee-for-service payments to help offset lost revenue amid the pandemic. Repayment for those cash advances are set to start around August for many hospitals. 

Repayment works like this: hospitals will receive zero percent Medicare reimbursement until the loan is fully recouped. Hospitals have to repay the loans within 12 months. 

In the blog post, FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn wrote if terms of the agreement aren't fixed, "this lifeline could become an anchor that sinks the recovery of hospitals across the country." He said the current terms of the agreement don't account for continued care delays and an anticipated second wave of COVID-19.

He called on Congress to extend the repayment start date from 120 days to 12 months; lower the amount of repayment taken from each Medicare claim from 100 percent to 25 percent; and extend the repayment period for hospitals from a year to at least three.

Read more here.

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