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Are hospitals on the hook for $1B in government aid?

The current coronavirus pandemic has hit medical institutions in various ways throughout the country. Some are busy, working hard to serve patients and provide needed care. Others have slowed down as many elective procedures are on hold. Both are facing increased expenses as medical professionals and others who come into contact with patients need to wear additional personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

In order to make ends meet, many took the government up on offers of financial aid. Unfortunately, these funds came with a string: repayment. The clock is ticking and the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stated repayment will be expected.

What does this mean for hospitals and private practices?

The CMS’ reports that it paid out $100 billion in advanced payments through the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to help hospitals and others in the medical profession during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the agency states it expects repayment to begin this month, there is a push for Congress to pass a relief package that would extend the repayment timeline. The American Hospital Association is going even further, asking lawmakers to forgive the loans.

It is important to look through the language that accompanied the funds to determine the best way to handle repayment. In most cases, full repayment of funds connected to the Advance Payment Program are generally not due until one year after the date the first loan was received. As such, those who received the funds may have some time to see how everything plays out.