Uncertainty over Medicare loans leaves hospitals in limbo

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Edwards County Medical Center, a rural hospital in Kinsley, Kan., received $1.7 million in sped up Medicare payments. The healthcare facility hasnt spent the cash due to the fact that of uncertainty about when payments would start, according to NPR..

On Sept. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a short-term financing bill that would extend the start date for when CMS would begin recovering the Medicare loans. Under the bill, CMS would wait one year after the loan was released before it would begin keeping Medicare payments to recoup the funds. The loans were initially due 120 days after they were released.

In August, NPR reported that more than 850 crucial access health centers in backwoods got Medicare loans. Provided the shaky monetary footing of many rural medical facilities prior to the pandemic, the stress of having Medicare payments withheld could be enough to force some to shut down..

Payments on the loans are formally expected to be due this month, however CMS has actually not yet begun withholding Medicare payments to recover the funds. Hospital leaders from across the country informed NPR that CMS has not stated whether or when it will change the repayment due date..

The Senate is anticipated to vote on the step today, according to The Wall Street Journal..

CMS sped up payments to hospitals and other health care providers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to assist briefly alleviate financial stress. Health centers that received the loans are unsure of when theyll need to begin repayment, according to NPR..

On Sept. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a short-term financing expense that would extend the start date for when CMS would begin recovering the Medicare loans. Under the expense, CMS would wait one year after the loan was provided prior to it would begin withholding Medicare payments to recoup the funds. The loans were originally due 120 days after they were provided.