Federal Funds to Be Available for Treating, Testing Uninsured COVID-19 Patients
By David Doolittle

1.26 interstate billing

Physicians will be able to file claims for treating and testing uninsured patients for COVID-19 starting next month, federal health officials announced Wednesday. 

Physicians who treat uninsured patients must register to be paid and assent to certain terms and conditions, such as verifying the patient is uninsured and agreeing not to balance bill, the federal Health and Human Services (HHS) Department said. 

Registration will begin Monday, April 27, with training available the following Wednesday. Claims will begin to be paid in early May. 

The payments are part of a first round of emergency funding Congress allocated from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

HHS dispersed $30 billion of those funds earlier this month to hospitals, physicians, and other health care professionals in direct proportion to their share of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) spending. 

Starting Friday, another $20 billion will be sent primarily to facilities that receive a small percentage of revenue from Medicare, such as children’s hospitals, HHS said. 

However, many Texas physicians will still have to wait for their share. 

Pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists, nursing homes, and other health care professionals and facilities that receive much of their revenue from Medicaid and other sources “will be addressed in the second tranche of funding,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Director Seema Verma said earlier this month

HHS has not announced a date for the second round of funding.

Decreased cash flow and patient volume related to COVID-19 have caused many Texas physicians, particularly pediatricians, to begin furloughing staff or face hard decisions about their practices’ long-term viability.

Earlier this month, the Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatric Society , and 29 other state medical societies and organizations called on Gov. Greg Abbott to implement a multi-point plan to help struggling practices, such as pediatricians.

You can find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.

Last Updated On

April 23, 2020

Originally Published On

April 23, 2020

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David Doolittle

Editor

(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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