New, simpler PPP forgiveness application available for loans under $50k
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released a new loan forgiveness application (SBA Form 3508S) for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This application is intended to simplify the loan forgiveness process for borrowers by requiring fewer calculations and less documentation. Additionally, borrowers who use SBA Form 3508S are exempt from reductions in loan forgiveness amounts based on reductions in FTE count or in salaries or wages. As a reminder, SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to lenders on Oct. 2, 2020.
Advance Payment Program loan payback delayed, details released
Following MGMA advocacy, Congress revised and improved repayment terms for the Medicare Advance Payment Program (APP) for those that accepted loans earlier this year. In response to recent legislative changes, CMS issued guidance stating the claims recoupment process is automatically stayed for one year starting from when the APP loan was issued. After one year, Medicare payments will be recouped at a rate of 25% for 11 months and 50% for another six months. Once this 29-month timeframe expires, local Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) will issue a letter for payment of any remaining balance. Medical group practices that want to begin payments sooner or make lump sum payments should contact their MAC.
MGMA encourages legislation to prevent Medicare payment cuts
MGMA joined over 60 organizations to express appreciation for legislation that would prevent drastic payment cuts to various sections of the provider community by waiving Medicare’s budget neutrality requirement. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2020 included welcomed changes to reduce administrative burden and improve payment rates for E/M services. However, adhering to existing budget neutrality requirements will result in sizable cuts to various specialties starting Jan. 1, 2021. MGMA appreciates Rep. Burgess and Rep. Rush’s leadership in introducing legislation (H.R. 8505) that would prevent pending Medicare payment cuts by waiving budget neutrality requirements for one year and looks forward to working with Congress on a viable legislative solution before the end of the year.
OCR issues additional HIPAA right of action fines
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the agency that enforces HIPAA privacy and security, announced two new settlements with providers over separate HIPAA right of access violations. The HIPAA right of access establishes the right of patients to obtain access to their medical records in a timely fashion, for a reasonable fee, and in their requested format. The two organizations, a practice with offices in New York and Florida and an Arizona hospital system, failed to provide patients timely access to their health information. The practice paid OCR a settlement of $100,000 and the hospital system paid a settlement of $160,000, with each organization required to adopt a corrective action plan. To learn more about these HIPAA right of access issues, download the member-benefit resource The Patient Right to their Medical Record: Format, Fees and other Requirements