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Feds reserve $30B in 'immediate' grants for ASCs, other Medicare providers

The federal government is allocating $30 billion in grants to Medicare providers — including ASCs — under its sweeping stimulus package for COVID-19 relief.

Part of the $100 billion in relief funds included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the grants will be immediately distributed to eligible providers who received an email with the subject line "CARES Act Provider Relief Fund: Action Required." Payments will arrive via direct deposit beginning April 10.

HHS said the money is intended to help "both providers in areas heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and those providers who are struggling to keep their doors open due to healthy patients delaying care and canceled elective surgeries"

The grants are available to all facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service reimbursement in 2019. Their share of FFS reimbursements — which amounted to about $484 billion for the year — will determine their portion of the initial $30 billion in grants.

To calculate estimated payment, providers should divide their 2019 Medicare FFS payments (excluding Medicare Advantage) by $484 billion and multiply the ratio by $30 billion.

Within 30 days of receipt, providers must sign an attestation through a portal that will be launched the week of April 13. They must also agree to the payment terms and conditions. Those who do not agree to the terms and conditions will be obligated to return the full payment to HHS.

CMS is partnering with UnitedHealth Group to distribute the $30 billion in funds. Responding to the news, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association said its advocacy efforts "helped ensure that ASCs were included in these distributions." Anesthesia Business Consultants outlined the details of HHS' payments in a special alert to inform clients.

The remaining $70 billion included in the CARES Act will go to providers in hard-hit areas, rural providers, providers who serve primarily Medicaid patients, and providers seeking reimbursement for treating uninsured Americans.

Anesthesia Business Consultants highlighted other key points for providers here.

More articles on coding, billing and collections:
Indiana legislators meet resistance on price transparency bill
Maximizing reimbursements in ASCs: A review of reimbursement methodology
Independent ASC created as alternative to hidden surgical prices

 

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