Take action now: Tell Congress to extend Medicare telehealth waivers
Once the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) lifts the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) declaration, many of the telehealth flexibilities allowed during the PHE will end. Since declaring the end of a PHE is at the sole discretion of the Secretary, it is difficult to predict when he will exercise that authority. It is possible that he could end it before patients feel comfortable or safe seeking treatment in an office. To avoid a situation where providers can no longer treat patients via telehealth regardless of their location, Congress must act soon. MGMA drafted a template letter that members can send to their congressional representatives urging them to extend the Medicare telehealth flexibilities beyond the conclusion of the PHE. Since the letter is editable, we encourage members to include anecdotes on how telehealth flexibilities during the COVID-19 PHE have benefited their practices and their ability to treat patients. You can access the letter here or through our Contact Congress portal.HHS announces $15 billion in Provider Relief Fund payments for Medicaid and CHIP providers
This week, HHS announced it will be distributing $15 billion to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers via a new Targeted Distribution Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal. This portal will allow providers that did not previously receive a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Distribution to report their annual revenue data and apply to receive a payment equal to at least two percent of reported gross revenues from patient care.
To be eligible for this funding, healthcare providers must not have received payments from the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund General Distribution and must have directly billed Medicaid for healthcare-related services during the period of January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2019. The deadline to submit an application for the Medicaid Targeted Distribution is July 20, and providers that have been allocated a payment must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agree to the Terms and Conditions within 90 days of receiving payment. HHS has published a set of instructions to assist providers in the completion of the application form.
CMS accepting applications for Direct Contracting model through July 6
Group practices can apply through July 6 to participate in the Medicare Direct Contracting model starting in April 2021. This model builds on the Next Generation ACO model and features higher risk and reward than the Medicare Shared Savings Program.
The Direct Contracting model is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) advanced alternative payment model that includes capitated payments. There are two payment tracks: The Professional option is lower risk for participating physicians (50% shared savings/losses) and the Global option is full risk (100% shared savings/losses).
More information and future updates are available on the Direct Contracting website.MGMA asks Congress to offer providers liability protections
This week, MGMA joined almost 100 other organizations in urging Congress to include liability protections for providers in the next COVID-19 relief package. More specifically, the sign-on letter asks congressional leadership to include the targeted and limited liability protections for healthcare professionals that are in the bipartisan “Coronavirus Provider Protection Act.” These liability protections would extend to those who provide care in good faith during and 60 days after the COVID-19 PHE.