The bill is now due for Medicare providers who accepted Accelerated and Advanced Payments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
CMS said the repayment process began March 30, one year after the program began to offset financial stress to providers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicare will automatically recoup 25% of Medicare payments owed to providers for eleven months. At the end of that period, recoupment will increase to 50% for another six months. CMS will issue demand letters for any outstanding balance not paid within that time.
The home health industry fared better than its counterparts in the post-acute care industry in terms of repayments, according to Sherill Mason, principal at Mason Advisors LLC. She recently McKnight’s Home Care Daily referrals have rebounded since the beginning of the pandemic.
“The sector is significantly healthier financially than their colleagues in the skilled nursing industry, where census has not rebounded,” Mason said.
Still some larger healthcare firms believe smaller providers — still struggling from the pandemic — won’t be able to repay the money and could be ripe for acquisition.
“We’ve been able to predict who is going to be in trouble…We are going to be very aggressive about anybody within our licensing area and probably won’t pay much,” Amedisys CEO Paul Kusserow said last month during a healthcare conference.