Medicare Loan Relief to Help Doctors ‘Recoup the Losses’ in House Bill
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With only days to go before the federal government’s fiscal year ends, the House of Representatives unveiled a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government that includes provisions to delay physician repayment of pandemic-related Medicare loans and to reduce the interest rate on loans, according to a Press release of the American Medical Association (AMA).
The RC is considered a must law because if it is not adopted and enacted by September 30, the government will have to close its doors.
In announcement of legislationHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said: “The continuing resolution presented today will prevent a catastrophic shutdown amid the ongoing pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes and keep government open. until December 11, when we plan to have bipartite legislation. to fund the government for this fiscal year.
Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opposed the CR Bill, saying it left out “key relief and support” for farmers by not funding Commodity. Credit Corp, Yahoo News reported.
Neither political party, however, has offered to shut down the government just weeks before the national elections, and it seems likely that a compromise will be found.
In the AMA press release, he revealed that Congress and the White House had agreed to include the Medicare loan repayment provisions in the RCA.
Under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments (AAP) program announced in March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) offered to advance money to doctors to help keep their doors open during the first months of the pandemic.
These loans, however, were to be repaid later on Medicare payments to medical offices.
Under the program, which was suspended in late April, Medicare began collecting loans 120 days after they were granted. Each health insurance claim submitted by a firm offsets the loan balance to recover the accelerated or early payment. Firms have up to 210 days to repay loans through this process before they are asked to repay them directly with interest.
However, the pandemic has had a heavier impact than expected on the practices of doctors. In its press release, WADA noted that “from March to May, the revenues of doctors’ offices fell by at least 50%. As practices began to reopen, some were able to recoup some of the loss. , but not all due to the reduction in visits and procedures “.
Despite this economic blow, doctors are still expected to repay Medicare loans “on a short-term basis, and after a few months any outstanding balance will be subject to an interest rate of 10.25%,” the AMA noted. This would create a serious cash flow problem for many practices.
According to WADA, the resolution continues:
Defer collection of disbursed funds until 365 days after the prepayment has been made to a medical office, with the balance due by September 2022.
Reduces the amount to be recovered from each claim from 100% to 25% of the claim for the first 11 months and to 50% of the claims held for an additional 6 months. If the loan is not repaid in full, the interest rate goes into effect.
Lowers the interest rate from 10.25% to 4%.
“Members of Congress and the administration have settled on a bipartisan response to the economic sword hanging over the practices of physicians,” said Susan Bailey, MD, president of the AMA, in the press release. “This relief will be felt across the country as doctors will be able to continue providing health care during the pandemic. “