The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that approximately $34 billion will be made available to health care providers for COVID-19 assistance in the form of accelerated or advance payment separate from the $100 billion in the CARES Act.
The funds have been provided through the expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program. This streamlined process has been implemented by CMS to reduce processing times for a request of an accelerated or advance payment. The previous timeframe was three to four weeks and is now between four to six days.
CMS says it has received over 25,000 requests from health care providers and suppliers for accelerated and advance payments, approving over 17,000 of those requests in the last week. Prior to COVID-19, CMS had approved just over 100 total requests in the past five years, with most being tied to natural disasters such as hurricanes.
The payments are available to Part A providers, including hospitals nursing homes and home health agencies as well as Part B suppliers, including doctors, non-physician practitioners and durable medical equipment (DME) 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. Part A providers and Part B suppliers will have up to 210 days to complete repayment of accelerated and advance payments, respectively.
A fact sheet on the process here.
National Government Services (NGS), New York’s home health and hospice Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), is hosting two Accelerated Payment Process webinars on April 13 and April 20 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.