The AAMC joined other hospital groups in an April 23 letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, requesting that improvements be made to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs [see Washington Highlights, March 27]. The American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and America’s Essential Hospitals were among the eight groups that signed the letter to agency leaders seeking assistance for hospitals and providers.
The CARES Act expanded the use of Medicare Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs to help provide hospitals and health care providers with funds to help with their cash flow as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the letter notes, several improvements need to be made, including “significantly lowering the interest rate on such payments (currently 9.625 percent), increasing the length of the repayment period and allocating the funds from general revenues rather than from the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund.”
While the interim funding package Congress passed this week did not include the changes requested in the letter, a joint statement issued on April 21 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) notes the administration has “agreed to key improvements” in the next package, including “significantly lowering the interest rate on advance payments, lengthening the repayment schedule and distributing payments from general revenues not the Hospital Insurance Fund.”
The interim package was signed into law on April 24 (see related story), and Congress is expected to shift to working on a comprehensive supplemental spending package in the coming weeks.