Provider Relief Fund Monies Cannot Be Used to Pay Off Accelerated and Advanced Payments

On October 8, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an announcement related to the accelerated and advanced payment program. As part of that announcement, CMS noted that “[t]o allow even more flexibility in paying back the loans, the $175 billion issued in Provider Relief funds can be used towards repayment of these Medicare loans.” Subsequent to that announcement on October 9, the Department updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQs noting that this was not a permissible use of funds. In light of that FAQ, the CMS announcement was reviewed, and the key language noted above was deleted, without any indication on the announcement when the update was made. For the Hart Health summary of this program, visit here.

CMS Expands Codes Eligible for Telehealth Reimbursement

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced an additional set of telehealth services that will be eligible for Medicare reimbursement during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). The announcement was in response to the President’s recent Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access. CMS added 11 new services to the Medicare telehealth services list and will immediately start paying eligible practitioners who provide these services. The new services include certain neurostimulator analysis and programming services as well as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.

CMS Administrator Verma Previews Vaccine Regulations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is in the process of drafting regulations to ensure speedy access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the agency plans to ensure full payment of COVID vaccines and treatments for Medicare beneficiaries. During the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (HCPLAN) Virtual Summit last week, Verma stated that CMS expects to release more details on its plans within the month.

New Survey Results on COVID Vaccine Expectations

Medisafe has released the results from a new survey regarding the immediate concerns and expectations of patients about an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. The results indicate that 65 percent of people will wait to get the vaccine once it becomes available, either until their doctor approves or until enough people get it to know it works. Approximately 64 percent of respondents were concerned that a vaccine will be rushed to market too soon, with one in 10 saying that they will never trust a COVID-19 vaccine. Seventy-two percent of respondents, however, said that they plan to get or have already received a flu shot this year.

Hart Health Strategies COVID-19 Resources

Hart Health Strategies Inc. continues to update the following resources related to the coronavirus pandemic. Please remember to clear your cache to ensure you download the most recent documents.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight hearing “Maximizing Health Coverage Enrollment Amidst Administration Sabotage;” 12:00 p.m., October 20

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing to examine VA MISSION Act, focusing on assessing progress implementing Title I;” 9:30 a.m., 106 Dirksen Bldg.; October 21

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.Res.1185 — Recognizing the importance of mental health globally and highlighting the contributions and value of mental health, well-being, psychosocial support, and human capacity, particularly in areas of economic inequity, development contexts, and humanitarian settings; Sponsor: Rep. Cardenas, Tony [D-CA-29]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Foreign Affairs

H.Res.1186 — Recognizing the importance of biomedical research and thanking biomedical researchers in the United States; Sponsor: Rep. DelBene, Suzan K. [D-WA-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.11 — To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to encourage investment to renew, restore, and rebuild the American economy for our workers, families, and small businesses, maximize innovation through research and development, and secure America’s medical supplies; Sponsor: Rep. McCarthy, Kevin [R-CA-23]; Committees: House - Ways and Means

H.R.8555 — To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit to Congress a weekly report on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Craig, Angie [D-MN-2]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

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