By Deborah Hammonds, J.D.
CMS approves $34 billion in advance and accelerated loan payments for hospitals and others on frontlines of COVID-19 battle.
In the past week, almost $34 billion has been delivered to health care providers on the frontlines battling the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), according to an April 7th Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) press release. The funds have been provided through the expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to ensure providers and suppliers have the resources needed to fight the pandemic.
The streamlined process implemented by CMS for COVID-19 has reduced processing times for an accelerated or advance payment from three to four weeks down to four to six days. The payments are available to Part A providers, including hospitals, and Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners and durable medical equipment suppliers. While most of these providers and suppliers can receive three months of their Medicare reimbursements, certain providers can receive up to six months.
The advance and accelerated payments are a loan that providers must pay back. CMS will begin to apply claims payments to offset the accelerated/advance payments 120 days after disbursement. The majority of hospitals including inpatient acute care hospitals, children’s hospitals, certain cancer hospitals, and critical access hospitals will have up to one year from the date the accelerated payment was made to repay the balance. All other Part A providers and Part B suppliers will have up to 210 days to complete repayment of accelerated and advance payments, respectively.
Funding through the CMS program is separate from the $100 billion provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act appropriation is a payment that does not need to be repaid. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be providing additional information on how healthcare providers and suppliers can access CARES Act funds in the coming weeks.
A fact sheet on the accelerated/advance payment process and how to submit a request is available on the CMS website. Providers can also contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor for any questions.
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