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The $70 Billion Question – CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Helping Hardest Hit Hospitals First

HHS finally unveiled its preliminary plan for disbursement of the remaining $70 billion of CARES Act Provider Relief Funds. The initial $30 billion was disbursed to providers based on 2019 Medicare fee-for-service payments. HHS indicated that the remaining $70 billion would be disbursed to (1) providers that incurred COVID-19 expenses, (2) rural providers, (3) providers that primarily receive payments from other sources (such as Medicaid), and (4) providers that treat uninsured Americans.

How will the funds be distributed?

First, $10 billion will go to hospitals that have been impacted hardest by COVID-19. This will be based upon the total number of admitted patients who tested positive for COVID-19. Hospitals will have until April 23, 2020 at midnight to apply and should have received an email with a link to the portal (there is no website similar to the payment attestation).

Providers will need to submit the following information (HHS estimates this should take 5 minutes):

  • Tax Identification Number
  • National Provider Identifier
  • Total number of Intensive Care Unit beds as of April 10, 2020
  • Total number of admissions with a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 from January 1, 2020 to April 10, 2020

Second, an additional $20 billion will be rolled out based on overall patient revenue. There will likely be an application or reporting mechanism. Payments will be issued on a rolling basis. Stay tuned for updates on application release or additional information.

Third, an additional $30 billion is set aside for SNFs, dentists, and providers that only service Medicaid providers.

More information can be found by following the link below.

https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/04/22/hhs-announces-additional-allocations-of-cares-act-provider-relief-fund.html

For questions, contact your primary BMD Healthcare or Hospital Law attorney.

Changes to Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule and Outpatient Prospective Payment System

Come the beginning of 2022, both the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (“MPFS”) and Outpatient Prospective Payment System (“OPPS”) will look a little different. As a refresher, the MPFS lists the fees associated with reimbursement of services to providers at certain facilities, taking into account geography and costs. By contrast, OPPS sets reimbursement rates for hospitals and community mental health centers for outpatient services, which are determined in advance. A summary of some of the more pertinent changes to each rule will be outlined below.

CMS to Once Again Reprocess Outpatient Clinic Claims

The Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Rule was passed in November 2018, which was intended to prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from paying more for services rendered in outpatient settings than what they paid for the same services rendered in physician offices that are simply owned by hospitals or health systems.[1]

New Vaccine Requirement for Select CMS-Participating Facilities

On November 4, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”) released a new rule requiring certain healthcare facilities to implement policies requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It does not matter if a staff member does not perform patient treatment services, they must still be vaccinated if an employee of an applicable facility.

OSHA COVID-19 EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD (ETS) Vaccination, Testing, Recordkeeping, and Reporting

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued its long-awaited COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Note that the ETS does not apply to employers covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors or Subcontractors (see here), or to settings where employees provide healthcare services subject to OSHA’s ETS for the healthcare industry (see here).

Interesting Trends Revealed in 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey

Results of the KFF annual survey of state Medicaid directors reveal some fascinating trends in Medicaid service delivery and benefit coverage. Read on for a summary of the highlights we find most noteworthy. Background As a preliminary matter, many of the trends KFF identifies and that we highlight below are no doubt a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic triggered a public health emergency and economic crisis that resulted in increased Medicaid enrollment, service offerings, and flexibility in service delivery, along with a heightened awareness of disparities in access to care and health outcomes.