CARES Act for Critical Access Hospitals
Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed (96-0) The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a $2.2 trillion stimulus package designed to mitigate the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The legislation includes relief for businesses and individuals, assistance to states, and key protections for workers. It is expected that the U.S. House of Representatives will swiftly pass the  CARES Act ,  and that the President, in turn, will promptly sign the measure.
 
The revised CARES Act provides, among other things, economic assistance to Critical Access Hospitals with some key cash flow legislation:
 
SEC. 3719. EXPANSION OF THE MEDICARE HOSPITAL ACCELERATED PAYMENT PROGRAM DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
  • Provides accelerated payments under the Medicare program to a Critical Access Hospital on a periodic or lump sum basis, up to 125% of the payment that would otherwise be made under the program.

  • Allows not less than 12 months from the date of the first accelerated payment before requiring that the outstanding balance be paid in full.

  • Provides 120 days before any claims are offset to recoup the accelerated payment.
 
Arnett Carbis Toothman LLP will provide more information on how to obtain accelerated payments as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) develops procedures for obtaining this relief.
 
SEC. 3709. TEMPORARY ADJUSTMENT OF SEQUESTRATION
 
  • During the period beginning on May 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020, the Medicare programs under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.) shall be exempt from reduction under any sequestration order issued before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.
 
These are a couple of the more immediate measures from the CARES Act impacting Critical Access Hospitals. There are other provisions of the Act that benefit Critical Access Hospitals that will take more time for the CMS to roll out.
If you have any questions concerning these or other Critical Access Hospital regulations, please call 800-642-3601 and ask for a Health Care representative.