The AHA today urged CMS to use its authority to extend to LTCHs the 20% hospital add-on payment for Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with COVID-19, which was authorized by the CARES Act.

“LTCHs are playing a critical role in supporting the growing number of general acute-care hospitals that, because they have hit their maximum capacity, must transfer COVID-19 patients to other settings,” AHA wrote. “LTCHs are one of the few other settings that are able to accept these patients because they uniquely possess both ventilators and the clinicians needed to treat the virus, including pulmonologists, critical care nurses and respiratory therapists. In fact, some LTCHs are now operating as COVID-19-designated sites. Extending the 20% DRG add-on to LTCHs would help support their increasing role in fighting the pandemic.”

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