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“Health care providers are making massive financial sacrifices to care for the influx of coronavirus patients,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “Many are rightly complying with federal recommendations to delay non-essential elective surgeries to preserve capacity and personal protective equipment. They shouldn’t be penalized for doing the right thing. Amid a public health storm of unprecedented fury, these payments are helping providers and suppliers — so critical to defeating this terrible virus — stay afloat.”

It’s important to note that unlike the Small Business Administration-backed loans introduced under the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed last month, these advances must be repaid under all circumstances, with no potential for forgiveness; CMS will begin using future reimbursements to pay down the advance balance within 120 days of disbursing the money.

Most operators will then have 210 days to fully repay the loans.

CMS also emphasized that the funds are separate from the $100 billion that Congress appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for general coronavirus relief efforts; HHS will provide updated information about how operators can access that money “in the coming weeks,” according to CMS.

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