Recognizing cash flow concerns at many hospitals, MassHealth announced late last week that it will consider providing hospitals cash advances on a case-by-case basis with priority given for those at imminent financial risk and little cash on hand. MassHealth distributed a template for hospitals to fill out when making requests.
Also, as requested by MHA, MassHealth will immediately issue the majority of its supplemental payments already budgeted for FY21 but which had been scheduled to be paid later this year. The payments are for safety net providers, pediatric hospitals, and other qualified hospitals. Safety net provider payments are paid to 14 hospitals with high Medicaid and low commercial insurance volume. Regarding these payments, $83 million of the planned $158 million is being issued immediately.
EOHHS also announced that it is protecting all current and future MassHealth enrollees from most changes that would potentially affect their eligibility. MassHealth annually reviews individuals for eligibility to ensure they continue to meet income standards, among other things. The agency also receives information from other agencies, including the Department of Revenue, which could indicate an enrollee is potentially no longer eligible based on income. Effective immediately, MassHealth will protect coverage for all individuals who have Medicaid coverage as of March 18, 2020, and for all individuals approved for coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak national emergency and for one month after the emergency period ends. MHA is grateful to the EOHHS and Baker Administration for taking decisive action to address these immediate financial/enrollment concerns.