Message from the Executive Director

Hope all are doing well and staying safe! We are requesting help on a quick project that could help benefit those with staffs and offices. NJAOPS has been made aware of many small private practices that did not receive much needed funding through the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP). We have taken many of your frustrating stories to the AOA, to the Banking and Insurance Association, to Trenton and even Washington DC. However, we want to move beyond just anecdotal scenarios, and be able to provide data to back up our concerns.

With the second wave of funding made available this week, we are asking physicians who applied for the PPP program originally, whether for your own private practice or for a hospital, to take our one minute survey regarding the funding you received (or did not receive). This information is ANONYMOUS and we are not collecting ANY personal information. The purpose of this is to gather as much relevant data as we can to be able to approach the Murphy administration should we need to discuss additional funding for small HEALTHCARE businesses.
Warm Regards,
Tajma Kotoric
Executive Director
New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians (NJAOPS)

Update on Federal COVID 19 Assistance Programs From CMS and HHS
  o follow is a summary of recent updates to these two programs. Unfortunately, the guidance and compliance becomes more complicated and cumbersome as we go on. However, the funding is extremely worthwhile if your practice can accommodate the documentation required. We have also included the original guidance from CMS.

HHS Opens Application Portal for Second Provider Relief Payment
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has opened the “General Distribution” portal for providers to apply for the second round of provider relief payments.
This second payment is again a grant, not a loan. HHS refers to the two rounds of payments as the General Distribution of the first $50 billion of the $100 billion of CARES Act funding for providers. The General Distribution portal is accessible from the HHS provider relief page or can be found directly here .  
Unlike the first round, in order to receive a second relief payment, providers must apply for the funds as described below. However, providers are eligible for this payment only if they received the first grant payment prior to April 24th and if they filed a tax return in 2017, 2018, or 2019. 

Once in the application portal, providers must first enter the TIN, amount of the first payment, and the bank account number to which the first payment was deposited in order for the first payment to be verified. The following are the remaining application steps:

  • Select the provider’s tax classification from a list of options (i.e., sole proprietor/disregarded entity (LLC), C Corporation, S Corporation, Partnership, Trust, or Tax-Exempt).
  • Enter the amount of “Gross Receipts or Sales” or “Program Service Revenue” from their most recent tax filing, (i.e., from Form 1040-Box 1 of Schedule C, from Form 1065-Box 1a, etc.).
  • Provide estimates of lost revenue for March and April 2020 due to COVID-19. Lost revenue can be estimated by comparing year-over-year revenue, or by comparing budgeted revenue to actual revenue. For April 2020, an estimate of the total monthly loss based on data from the first few weeks in April or by extrapolation from March data is acceptable. HHS is collecting the estimated revenue loss information in order to understand the impact of COVID-19.
  • Upload the most recent IRS tax filing (2017, 2018, or 2019). This is for HHS to verify the self-reported information.
  • Provide a listing of all TINs of any of the provider’s subsidiary organizations that have received relief funds but that do not file separate tax returns. Each entity that files a Federal income tax return is required to file an application even if it is part of a provider group. For a group of corporations that files one consolidated return, only the tax return filer may submit an application. HHS explains that they are collecting this information so that HHS does not overpay or underpay providers that file tax returns covering multiple legal entities in consolidated tax returns. 

HHS does not provide a formula or explanation for how it will calculate the amount of money a provider will receive, except to say that “HHS will apportion relief funds to US healthcare providers with the intention of optimizing the beneficial impact of the funds.”
HHS anticipates that payments will be disbursed ten business days after submission of the application. 

Providers who did not receive the first grant payment before April 24th are ineligible to apply for this second round of funding but might be eligible for one or more of the future Targeted Distributions, including hospitals in COVID-19 high-impact areas, providers who treated uninsured COVID-19 patients, rural health clinics and hospitals, Indian Health Service facilities, skilled nursing facilities, dentists, and providers that solely take Medicaid. We will provide an update on further details of the Targeted Distribution funds once they are disclosed by HHS.

HHS is not taking direct inquiries from providers regarding this second round of payments, and no remedy or appeals process will be available. An FAQ regarding the General Distribution portal can be found on the HHS website .  

On April 26, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the suspension of the Advance Payments Program to Part B providers, and is reevaluating the Accelerated Payments Program to hospitals. No new applications under the Advance Payments Program will now be accepted.

The rationale presented by CMS explained that the decision was made in light of the $100 billion in provider relief payments being distributed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the $75 billion being distributed to hospitals under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

The Advance Payments Program made it possible for providers to apply for expedited Medicare payments, as a loan to be recouped against future claims, to augment cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CMS NEWS ALERT: April 27, 2020 (COVID-19)
Here is a summary of recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) actions taken in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), as part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19, click here www.coronavirus.gov . For information specific to CMS, please visit the CMS News Room and Current Emergencies Website.   CMS updates these resources on an ongoing basis throughout the day; the information below is current as of April 27, 2020 at 10:45 a.m.

CMS Reevaluates Accelerated Payment Program and Suspends Advance Payment Program
CMS announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. The agency made this announcement following the successful payment of over $100 billion to healthcare providers and suppliers through these programs. CMS had expanded these temporary loan programs to ensure providers and suppliers had the resources needed to combat the beginning stages of the COVID-19. Funding will continue to be available to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response primarily from the  Provider Relief Fund . Press Release

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Toolkit to Accelerate State Use of Telehealth in Medicaid and CHIP
CMS released a new toolkit for states to help accelerate adoption of broader telehealth coverage policies in the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The toolkit will help states identify policies that may impede the rapid deployment of telehealth when providing care. This release builds on the agency’s swift actions to ensure that Americans can access the health care services they need through electronic and virtual means, minimizing travel to healthcare facilities and supporting efforts to limit community spread of the virus. Press Release Toolkit
Infection Control Guidance to Home Health Agencies on COVID-19   
CMS issued guidance to respond to questions from Medicare & Medicaid Home Health Agencies and Religious Nonmedical Healthcare Institutions. The guidance addresses the COVID-19 outbreak and minimizing transmission to other individuals. Guidance

Now Available: Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System Updates, Nursing Home Staff Counts, and Frequently Asked Questions
In a recent memo to State Survey Agencies, CMS announced that the inspection domain of the Nursing Home Compare website will be held constant temporarily due to the prioritization and suspension of certain surveys, to ensure the rating system reflects fair information for consumers. In addition, CMS is releasing information that shows the average number of staff each nursing home has onsite, each day (nursing staff and total staff), and aggregated by state and nationally. Along with these announcements CMS released a list of Frequently Asked Questions to clarify certain actions the agency has taken related to visitation, surveys, waivers, and other guidance. Memo Five-Star Quality Rating Information

CMS Gives States Additional Flexibility to Address Coronavirus Pandemic
CMS has approved more than 125 requests for state relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including recent approvals for Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. These approvals help to ensure that states have the tools they need to combat COVID-19 through a wide variety of waivers, amendments, and Medicaid state plan flexibilities, including for programs that care for the elderly and people with disabilities. CMS developed a toolkit to expedite the application and review of each request and has approved these requests in record time. These approved flexibilities support President Trump’s commitment to a COVID-19 response that is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.

Early Bird Pricing - Extended through June 30th
Due to the situations in Atlantic City, and throughout the State and region, NJAOPS will be postponing  AROC 2020  and it  WILL NOT  be held April 22-25. As of today, we have confirmed with your venue, the Hard Rock Atlantic City, that the event will now take place from  September 9th - 12th , a Wednesday through Saturday schedule as usual. Please note the following:

  • Current AROC 2020 Attendees (that have already registered): Your registration is valid and will be honored in September - no further action is needed.

  • Current Exhibitor and Sponsors: The dates for the Exhibit Hall Expo are September 9th - 10th. All Booth registrations and location assignments will remain the same

Additionally, the Hard Rock has informed us that any rooms that have already been booked under our group Room Discount Code (GOPS420 $79 discount), will be AUTOMATICALLY CANCELED. Please be advised, you WILL NOT NEED TO CALL HARD ROCK TO CANCEL. However, IF you booked a hotel rooms outside of the AROC group code, you will need to call Hard Rock to cancel. Hard Rock will provide NJAOPS new discounted group codes for the same $79 per night room rate in few weeks once operations have returned to normal.

We will keep you posted on any updates on these matters as soon as we receive confirmation. Please stay tuned for a follow up with confirmed dates in early September. We will have more updates to share, as we reconfirm aspects of our program and speakers.