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On Friday, Oct. 9, CMS announced new repayment terms for Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) loans made to providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Continuing Appropriations Act of 2021 and Other Extensions Act amended the repayment terms for all providers and suppliers who requested and received AAP loans during the COVID-19 PHE. Repayment for such loans will now begin one year from the date the payment was issued. Providers were originally required to make payments starting in August of this year.
After the first year, Medicare will automatically recoup 25% of Medicare payments for 11 months, with an increase to 50% for another 6 months. If the provider or supplier is unable to repay the total amount of the AAP during this time-period (a total of 29 months), CMS will issue letters requiring repayment of any outstanding balance, subject to an interest rate of 4%. Notably, to allow for more flexibility, provider relief funds can be used towards the repayment of these AAP loans.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma: Nursing Home Residents are Top Priority for COVID-19 Vaccinations
When asked about COVID-19 vaccine prioritization at an event on Oct. 7, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said nursing home residents are “top of mind” among possible first recipients. Verma said that CMS currently is focused on logistics, ensuring locations for vaccinations, provider readiness and appropriate reimbursement, and building public awareness.
For more information, click here for the report from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
HHS Adds FAQs Focused on Newly-Announced Phase 3 Provider Relief Fund Payments
HHS has released $20 billion for the Phase 3 distribution of Provider Relief Fund payments, with the application window opening Oct. 5 and closing Nov. 6. The funds are open to providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments through Phases 1 and 2, as well as providers that began practicing in 2020 that were previously ineligible for those first two phases.
For questions on the Phase 3 funding, see the updated HHS FAQs here
HHS is hosting a webinar on Phase 3 funds on Thursday, Oct. 15. For more information, click here.
State of Play on the Stimulus Package
On Oct. 13, President Trump announced that he wants a larger stimulus package as he shared his latest $1.8 trillion proposal. Senate Republicans objected to the Trump administration’s coronavirus relief proposal on a conference call over the weekend, after the president’s top aides took the offer to Democratic leaders in negotiations over a new round of stimulus. Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made clear he objects to spending trillions of dollars to combat the coronavirus pandemic. While negotiations are still ongoing, the Administration and Congressional leadership are still far from reaching an agreement, and it is unclear if a package will be passed before the Nov. 3 elections.
NIH Updates Funding To Include Research Into How Women, Underrepresented Populations Are Affected By COVID-19
The Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) announces the availability of administrative supplements to support research highlighting health disparities among women in the US who are underrepresented, understudied, and underreported (U3) in biomedical research.
ORWH is encouraging application submissions and is seeking to support studies on COVID-19 in alignment with efforts across NIH to accelerate research on technologies to validate and improve programs that will overcome barriers and increase uptake of effective therapeutics and vaccines at the point of care. Within the focus of this funding opportunity announcement, research topics of interest could include investigating the risk factors associated with COVID-19 disease prevalence among NIH-designated health disparity populations. Topics addressing intersectional and community-based research for older underserved women, residents of skilled nursing or long-term care facilities, and women providing care in the home to aging, disabled populations, or children (i.e., maternal caregiving) are areas of interest.
For more information click here to read the notice of change to funding announcement.