Skip Navigation LinksHome | Editors' Blog | Post

$2 trillion stimulus boosts payments for medical practices, eases telehealth rules

Medical practice backers and industry groups are cheering the $2.2 trillion stimulus plan that President Trump signed into law today to combat the severe economic consequences of the developing COVID-19 crisis.
Passing through the House of Representatives earlier in the day, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funnels billions of dollars directly to the health care industry, covers testing and vaccines related to the coronavirus and expands on previously relaxed telehealth rules.
The new law increases Medicare payments to physicians, hospitals and other health care providers by 2% through the remainder of 2020, according to The Hill. The CARES Act also showers frontline providers and hospitals who are providing COVID-19-related care with $100 billion. That money is earmarked for those who are incurring "coronavirus expenses," according to the report.
The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) released a statement after Congress approved the bill and struck an optimistic tone that the influx of funds would help medical practices grapple with the national health emergency.
"We are grateful that Congress heeded MGMA’s recommendations to aid and protect medical practices impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by allocating $100 billion to providers," said Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs with MGMA, in a statement. "The funds included in the CARES Act are critical in helping medical practices keep their doors open during this national emergency."

"Now that Congress has acted, the Administration needs to move quickly and use all authority necessary to distribute direct payments to medical groups," Gilberg added. "Our nation’s physicians simply cannot afford another bureaucratic exercise to access these funds. This is not business as usual, and medical practices need immediate financial support."
"The CARES Act will help ensure Medicare beneficiaries can access care when and where they need it during this pandemic," the ATA said in a statement. "The act will also provide much-needed support to America’s health care providers who are migrating patients to virtual care platforms to reduce exposure to COVID-19. The telehealth provisions in the CARES Act build on the initial Medicare telehealth waiver authorized by Congress and announced by HHS earlier this month."
According to the ATA, the definition of telehealth will change under the CARES Act. For instance, providers will be able to provide and get paid for "audio-only telehealth," and providers won't be required to have a prior relationship with the patients they treat via telehealth.
In addition, hospitals treating Medicare patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis will see a 20% pay increase throughout the remainder of the year, The Hill says.

To comment, login here.
Reader Comments (0)


User Name:
Welcome to the new Part B News Online. If you are a returning user having trouble logging in, please click here.
Back to top