We received a letter from Tracy Richardson, Acting Director, Financial Services Group, Office of Financial Management, Centers for Medicare And Medicaid Services, addressed to ASIPP in reference to confirming their position on telehealth and duration of waivers. CMS said:
Pursuant to authority granted under the CARES Act, effective for services starting March 1, 2020, and for the duration of the public health emergency (PHE) for the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS is waiving multiple requirements for use of interactive telecommunications systems to furnish telehealth services. This waiver allows the use of audio-only equipment to furnish services described by the codes for audio-only telephone evaluation and management services, and behavioral health counseling and educational services (see designated codes on the Medicare telehealth services list:
https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/Telehealth/Telehealth-Codes and https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/Emergency/EPRO/Current-Emergencies/Current-Emergencies-page
In reference to multiple other insurers, they are all different including Medicare Advantage Plans. We are enclosing a list of appropriate information and websites you can look at. One important one is payer telehealth table prepared by North Carolina Medical Society which provides information on multiple insurers. Individual websites can be accessed and looked at. We are working with these insurers to extend benefits similar to Medicare benefits.
Administration and Congress
The not so good news is that CMS has decided that they are expecting for Medicare Advances to begin the offset of claims, payments, and recoupment after statutory maximum allowable 120 days and the recoupment period begins at the end of 120 day period and will continue for up to 90 days.
However, we have already started asking for utilize funds from CARES Act to change 3-month loans to grants. We have sent letters to the members of Congress and administration.
Paycheck Protection Program
Another bit of good news is that the US Senate passed the house version of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) legislation, Wednesday night, tripling the time allotted for small businesses and other PPP loan recipients to spend the funds and still qualify for forgiveness of the loans. Highlights are as follows:
1. PPP borrowers can choose to extend the eight-week period to 24 weeks.
2. The payroll expenditure requirement drops to 60% from 75%. But is now a cliff, meaning that borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll or none of the loan will be forgiven.
3. Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by Dec. 31.
4. Borrowers now have five years to repay the loan instead of two at an interest rate of 1%.
5. The bill allows businesses that took a PPP loan to also delay payment of their payroll taxes.