During the crisis caused by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, sleep clinicians and sleep facilities have felt the financial strain as they have had to postpone services to help slow the spread of COVID-19. That is why the AASM has supported the efforts of the American Medical Association (AMA) to secure financial relief for our members and other health care providers.
CARES Act Provider Relief Fund
On March 27, President Trump signed the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allocate $100 billion in relief funds for hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers. The AASM signed on to an AMA letter urging HHS to use the fund to provide direct relief to both providers in areas heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and those who are struggling to keep their doors open due to widespread stay-at-home policies.
As a result of these advocacy efforts, the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund was established, and $30 billion is being distributed immediately by HHS – with payments arriving via direct deposit beginning April 10 – to eligible providers throughout the U.S. health care system. These are payments, not loans, to health care providers, and will not need to be repaid.
All facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements in 2019 are eligible for this initial rapid distribution. Providers will receive a portion of the initial $30 billion based on their share of total Medicare FFS reimbursements in 2019.
The automatic payments will come to providers via Optum Bank with “HHSPAYMENT” as the payment description. Within 30 days of receiving the payment, providers must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment. The CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Payment Attestation Portal is now open.
Additional Financial Relief
Additionally, the AASM signed on this week to another AMA letter calling for several legislative actions to preserve the viability of physician practices across the country. It recommends that Congress authorize direct financial support, grants, and interest-free loans and other mechanisms, such as a 9/11-type COVID fund, for physician practices of all sizes to ensure that they can remain afloat to meet the demands of this crisis and the ongoing health care needs of their patients.
Additional requests address:
- Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program
- Medicare and Medicaid payment
- Direct financial support
- Small business loans
- Support for resident physicians and students
- Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)
The full text of the letter to House and Senate leaders is available on the AMA website. Other resources available from the AMA include:
- Financial & business operations during COVID-19: Guidance for physicians
- Physician Practice Financial Relief Guide
Questions about AASM advocacy efforts can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.