April 14, 2020
On April 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Medicare-enrolled providers would receive direct deposit disbursements totaling $30 billion. However, since the announcement, the California Medical Association (CMA) has received a number of calls from physicians who believe they are eligible but did not receive the payment.
HHS partnered with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to deliver the initial distribution to providers. Physicians who believe they should have received funds but did not can contact UHG’s Provider Relations at (866) 569-3522.
UHG representatives can answer questions about eligibility, whether payment has been issued and where it was sent. UHG representatives told CMA that UHG is continuing to issue disbursements and expects to complete the direct deposit payments by the first week of May.
Additionally, UHG indicated that eligible practices not already set up on direct deposit through Medicare or Optum Pay may not receive funds until later in May. Practices that would like to set up direct deposit now can call the UHG Provider Relations number above to set that up.
Physicians must attest to receiving the funds and also agree to the terms and conditions of payment. UHG reports that the portal for signing the attestation will be open around April 18, 2020, and will be linked to at the HHS CARES Act Provider Relief webpage.
The $30 billion is part of the $100 billion Public Health and Emergency Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to provide financial assistance to physician practices, hospitals and other providers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
HHS said it is working to disburse additional funding to providers with lower shares of Medicare reimbursement (such as pediatricians, allergists and OB-GYNs) and Medicaid providers, and for COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured. The current policy does not help providers with a greater Medicare Advantage volume.
In California , CMA has also asked Governor Gavin Newsom to require or incentivize health plans and insurers to provide supplemental financial assistance or stabilization grants for their network physicians that are financially distressed.
For a full list of financial resources available to physician practices during the COVID-19 emergency, see CMA’s COVID-19 Financial Toolkit for Medical Practices.