WASHINGTON, D.C. – While COVID-19-related relief and prospects for CB Round 2021 have been at the forefront of HME Federal advocacy efforts over the last several months, the next four months still offer a change for meaningful HME policy gains in the 116th Congress and at CMS. Here’s a round-up of legislation and issues in play:
Our champions in the House have let us know they are still invested in securing permanent relief for rural and other non-CBA suppliers, as well as eliminating an outdated oxygen budget neutrality requirement impacting rural O2 rates. The lead sponsors for the bill have suggested that building additional co-sponsor support for H.R. 2771 will increase the prospects that provisions from this bill can be included in other omnibus legislative packages before the end of the year.
If your legislator is not among the 75 current co-sponsors, please ask them to co-sponsor the bill. See our updated list of the 66 Reps. who co-sponsored rural relief legislation in the 115th Congress but are not yet co-sponsoring HR 2771; these should be top co-sponsor targets. You can also send a pre-drafted letter using our Action Center asking your Representative to co-sponsor the legislation.
Eliminating Tax Burden for CARES Act Relief
HR 7819 – Eliminating the Provider Relief Tax Penalties Act of 2020
Current Co-Sponsors (10)
AAHomecare joined other major healthcare groups in supporting new legislation to make sure that health care providers don’t lose 20% or more of the relief Congress has provided to help offset the increased costs and lost revenues stemming from the pandemic. Please help build support by asking your Representative to sign on.
Reps. John Larson (D-CT) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) are spearheading a Congressional sign-on letter asking CMS to permanently exclude CRT manual accessories from bidding-derived pricing. Without action, manual CRT accessories could see rate reductions as early as July 2021. Suppliers and stakeholders in the mobility sector can ask their Representatives to join the letter, which will remain open until Aug. 31.
Mobility stakeholders should reach out to their representatives asking them to join the sign-on letter. Please share a link to the letter in your email to the Hill.
Delaying CB Round 2021 – Thanking supporters and seeking additional outreach to CMS
Strong grassroots advocacy from the HME community resulted in 101 House members joining the CB Round 2021 delay sign-on letter – an especially impressive tally given the short turn-around time and the challenges in engaging Capitol Hill in the current pandemic environment. If your Representative is one of the 101 signers, please send a brief note to the healthcare staffer in that office thanking them for signing on. If they are not among the signers, you can still ask them to contact CMS directly using this pre-written note on our Action Center.
Need contact info for healthcare staff on Capitol Hill or other assistance reaching out to your legislators? Email Gordon Barnes at email@example.com for assistance.
Get in the Game: Grassroots Accountability Project Seeks Volunteer Advocates
WASHINGTON, DC – The success of last month’s House Congressional letter with 101 signatures is the latest example of the powerful influence and importance of grassroots advocacy. We would not have secured such strong support during a tumultuous time on The Hill were it not for the groundswell of grassroots advocates like yourself who answered the call to action.
AAHomecare and VGM are spearheading the Grassroots Accountability Project (GAP) in partnership with the state and regional HME associations to secure HME advocates for all 535 federal legislative offices who will educate and engage legislators on HME Industry issues of importance. Over 31 states have 100% representation to date, and we want YOU to join the effort!
Joining the GAP and getting involved is easy and effective! We will alert you to grassroots actions needed, provide the background and suggested talking points, outline the specific requests for your legislator(s), and provide support as needed! Our goal is to make this a turnkey experience for you.
You don’t need to be politically involved or know a lot about politics to be an advocate. You just need to be passionate about your business, the HME Industry, and the people you serve!
To join the GAP or for more information, please contact Ashley Plauché by Monday, August 31st at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Details Emerge on Expanded Phase 2 of CARES Provider Relief
WASHINGTON, DC – As we shared in last week’s alert, HHS has re-opened the application for providers that missed receiving the Phase 1 Tranche 2 payment ($20B) that would have afforded providers up to 2% of 2018* total gross receipts. While the original announcement spoke to reopening the Phase 1 application, earlier this week, HHS announced that they have expanded the Phase 2 General Distribution (Medicaid/CHIP Providers) to include providers that qualified for Phase 1 General Distribution (Medicare Providers). Previously, Phase 2 was only available for providers that were not eligible for Phase 1.
This new announcement from HHS is a significant departure from the original eligibility requirement. In an updated FAQ, HHS provides further clarification on the eligibility criteria and what providers who were eligible for Phase 1 that did not receive the full 2% total gross receipts should do.
Below is the list of Q&As related to these changes that were updated on Aug. 10:
Who is eligible for Phase 2 – General Distribution? (p. 22)
- For providers who are now eligible for the Phase 2 – General Distribution that had received a payment in the Phase 1 – General Distribution, which eligibility, application requirements and portal should applicants use? (p. 23)
- Will Phase 2 – General Distribution payments be made to the billing TIN or filing TIN for those who received a payment that was less than 2% of revenue as part of the Phase 1 – General Distribution? (p. 23)
- Can a health care provider that has a primarily Medicaid-focused practice that received a small initial General Distribution payment, but forewent applying for an additional General Distribution payment, now apply for the Phase 2 – General Distribution? (p. 24)
- Does payment from the Phase 1 – General Distribution affect what I may receive as a Phase 2 – General Distribution payment? (p. 24)
- If I rejected my Phase 1 – General Distribution payment, can I apply for a Phase 2 – General Distribution payment? (p. 24)
- If a provider received a Phase 1 – General Distribution payment and submitted financial information in the Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal, but has not yet received a payment that is approximately 2% of patient care revenue, does the provider need to resubmit their financial information in the Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal? (p. 29)
- If a health care provider received a Phase 1 – General Distribution payment, but did not submit their financial information as required by the Terms and Conditions, which portal should the provider use to now submit their financial documents? (p. 29)
- How should an applicant set up an Optum ID if it is applying for Phase 2 – General Distribution payment on behalf of multiple subsidiaries? (p. 29)
- Is a health care provider that did not deposit a check from the Phase 1 – General Distribution that was subsequently voided after 90 days, eligible to apply for the Phase 2 –General Distribution? (p. 23)
In short, companies that received payments from Medicare in 2019 and/or Medicaid in 2018-2019; provided care since January 31; and have not yet received 2% of 2018* total gross receipts are eligible to apply for funding at Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal. HHS is accepting applications until August 28.
If you are still unsure about your eligibility and the application process, HHS is hosting a webinar on the application process tomorrow, Aug. 13, at 3:00pm (ET). You can register for the webinar here.
This is an evolving program with changes occurring regularly. We are sharing information based on what is available at this time. We recommend companies to review the information published at the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund website, especially the FAQ. Companies with any specific concerns or questions should call the Provider Relief Fund Support Line: (866) 569-3522.
*2018 or most recent completed tax year