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MGMA Washington Connection 08/06/20

08/06/2020 8:51 AM | Rebekah Francis (Administrator)

Help #MGMAAdvocacy: Urge Congress to support physician practices during COVID-19 pandemic

As Congress continues to negotiate the next COVID-19 package, it is imperative that they hear from physician practices. Use MGMA’s template letter to tell Congress that any final legislation must:

·     Include direct financial support to medical groups experiencing an adverse economic impact from COVID-19;

·     Continue telehealth flexibilities past the expiration of the public health emergency;

·     Add flexibilities for Medicare accelerated and advance payments, such as eliminating interest rates and lowering recoupment amounts; and

·     Amend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide a more simplified process for borrowers seeking PPP loan forgiveness, include personal protective equipment as an eligible covered cost, and allow for 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations to be eligible for PPP loans.

Thank you for joining our advocacy effort and supporting medical practices during the COVID-19 pandemic! 

SBA releases new PPP forgiveness information

The Small Business Administration (SBA) released new PPP FAQs that address eligible payroll and nonpayroll costs as well as loan forgiveness reductions. More specifically, SBA provides new information regarding costs incurred before the Covered Period and further details how to determine the amount of owner compensation eligible for loan forgiveness. As a reminder, absent further congressional action, the last day to apply for a PPP loan is Aug. 8, 2020. 

MGMA calls on CMS to delay and modify Advance Payment Program loan repayment

MGMA is urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay repayment of Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program (APP) loans. In addition to suspending repayment for one year, the Association is calling on policymakers to extend the repayment period to two years and waive interest during the extended period. 

Congress expanded the APP earlier this year to give providers access to cash flow. CMS opened applications for the program in late March but ceased accepting applications by April 26. Under current program rules, repayment begins 120 days after the advance payment was issued, which is as early as the first week of August. Loans that are not repaid in full within 210 days from the date the payment was received will be subject to interest rates of 10.25%.

MGMA to Congress: Expand Medicare telehealth beyond COVID-19 pandemic 

MGMA joined over 200 organizations in support of the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2020. If signed into law, this legislation would remove geographic restrictions on where a patient must be located to utilize telehealth services, enable patients to receive telehealth services in their homes, allow federally qualified health centers and rural health centers to furnish telehealth, and give the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) permanent waiver authority for future emergency periods and for 90 days past the expiration of the current public health emergency. Absent congressional action, the ability for patients to utilize telehealth in nonrural settings and in their homes is only in effect during the public health emergency. MGMA urges Congress to act before the public health emergency ends to avoid a scenario where providers are abruptly unable to treat most Medicare beneficiaries via telehealth.

HHS to reopen Provider Relief Fund applications for certain Medicare providers

HHS announced it will allow a second opportunity for Medicare providers to access payments from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF). Starting the week of Aug. 10, HHS will permit Medicare providers that missed the opportunity to apply for additional funding from the $20 billion second tranche of the $50 billion Medicare General Distribution. This opportunity will also be opened to Medicare providers that experienced a change in ownership in 2020 and therefore failed to receive a PRF payment based on 2019 CMS claims data. Both groups of providers will have until Aug. 28 to submit their revenue information to be considered for additional funding. Additional information on this second funding opportunity is expected via the PRF webpage next week.


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