The AHA today urged the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to exercise existing authorities to waive interest or substantially reduce the interest rate on any balance owed on accelerated/advanced payments made under section 3719 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the March 28 expansion announcement by CMS.

The “high interest rate can put hospitals at further financial risk while they are already vulnerable, and may prevent hospitals from requesting crucial accelerated/advanced payments,” AHA wrote.

AHA said that HHS and CMS have at least four mechanisms available to waive or reduce interest on accelerated/advanced payments owed and none requires rulemaking. These include waiving the imposition or collection of interest utilizing HHS’ existing waiver authority; employing CMS authority to refrain from issuing a demand letter; announcing that HHS will use the 2% interest rate set by the Secretary of the Treasury; or entering into a contract/repayment arrangement that uses a lower interest rate.

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