Bulletin 230702 — COVID‑19 Advance Payment Program Recoveries
Important Update: the COVID-19 Advance Payment Program recoveries to resume August 2023
To: All Independent Health Facilities
Category: Independent Health Facilities
Written by: Claims Services Branch; Health Programs and Delivery Division
Date issued: July 14, 2023
Bulletin Number: 230702
COVID-19 Advance Payment Program
Ontario’s Independent Health Facilities played a critical role in the province’s pandemic response and we once again extend our thanks to all health care providers, administrators and staff who supported this work. Because of these efforts, the pandemic is behind us and together we are returning to the businesses of building a health care system that connects people to care, close to home.
As communicated in INFOBulletin 2145, the Ministry of Health (the ministry) established the COVID-19 Advance Payment Program to provide monthly, interest-free loan payments to eligible Independent Health Facilities (IHFs) to address any cash flow issues that may have arisen during the initial stages of the pandemic on April 23, 2020. When we introduced this program, we were clear that these payments would need to be paid back, as is the case with any loan.
Advance OHIP Payment Recoveries
As per INFOBulletin 210406, the ministry began loan repayments in April 2021 and to date has recovered nearly $139 million out of the total $660 million provided.
With the current low rates of COVID-19 and high vaccination rates, Ontario’s health system will continue to transition to a post-pandemic state and focus resources on delivering services where they are most needed. At a time when it’s never been more important to invest in front-line services, it is critical that the ministry continue to recover the over $521 million loan payments. These funds are critical for important priorities like expanding access to team-based primary care, home care, mental health services and shortening wait times for key surgeries and procedures.
As we continue the post-pandemic transition, the ministry would like to advise you that the timing and loan repayment period will be as follows:
- loan repayments will resume August 2023
- to alleviate the financial pressure to IHFs, the remaining loan repayments will be extended over 12 equal deductions from monthly OHIP payments from August 2023 to July 2024, instead of original five months
- consistent with the process used in April 2021, the loan repayments will be applied against an IHF's future OHIP payments through the Remittance Advice
- no interest will be charged
The ministry has conducted an analysis against recent billings and is confident in the ability for those who still owe to repay any outstanding loans. That said, in the event that an IHF is concerned about their ability to repay the loan, the ministry is willing to consider extending the timeline for recovery to mitigate the financial impact.
Note: Advance payments will be automatically deducted from the IHF's group Remittance Advice.
This will report as a deduction on the Remittance Advice under Accounting Transactions, as follows: ‘EMERG ADVANCE (COVID19) RECOVERY’
If an IHF does not have sufficient earnings on their group Remittance Advice to set off the loan repayment, the Remittance Advice will show a negative balance (amount owing).
Negative balances will not accumulate interest and cannot be deducted directly from the group’s bank account. When a negative balance is generated on the Remittance Advice, it will carry over to the following month’s Remittance Advice and any payments on that Remittance Advice will automatically be applied against the negative balance. This will continue until the negative balance has been repaid.
An IHF in a negative balance at the end of the loan repayment period may send a cheque to return the remaining balance owing to the ministry.
Once loan repayments have started in August 2023, IHFs are asked to wait for the July 2024 Remittance Advice before sending a cheque to ensure that it reflects the correct repayment amount.
Any cheques received for COVID-19 advance repayments before the July 2024 Remittance Advice is issued will not be processed by the ministry.
Further instructions regarding cheque repayments will be communicated prior to July 2024.
No further action will be required by an IHF who is not in a negative balance at the end of the loan repayment period.
COVID-19; Advance Payment Program; APP; EMERG ADVANCE; negative balance