The AAMC joined five hospital groups in a July 29 letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma requesting that provider repayment of Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program loans be delayed until Congress has finished its work on the next COVID-19 supplemental legislation.
The letter, whose other signatories included the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Essential Hospitals, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, and the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, expressed appreciation for the expansion of the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs, stating that the payments “provided critical funding to our hospitals and health systems and were used to support front-line health care workers, build new sites of care to minimize the spread of the virus, and purchase the ventilators, drugs and supplies necessary to care for critically ill patients.” However, it noted that the loans must be paid in full with an aggressive recoupment process that begins, for some providers, as soon as August — while providers are still in the midst of responding to the pandemic.
Though changes to specific terms of the repayment of the loans — including the overall recoupment timeline, percent of claim recoupment, and interest rate — must be made legislatively, CMS has the authority to adjust the repayment schedule. Congress has begun negotiations on another COVID-19 supplemental package, with some legislators expressing a desire to make the program terms more sustainable for providers, but the legislation will not become law before some providers must begin repaying their loans. The letter asks that “CMS delay the start of the repayments until legislators have the opportunity to make changes to the programs.”