CMS Announces Financial Relief Package for Medicare Providers

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On Friday, March 27, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an expansion of its accelerated and advance payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers. The intent of the program is to ensure that providers have the resources needed to combat the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This program expansion, which includes changes from the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is an attempt by CMS to lessen the financial hardships of providers facing extraordinary challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that providers can focus on patient care. There has been significant disruption to the healthcare industry, with providers being asked to delay non-essential surgeries and procedures, other healthcare staff unable to work due to childcare demands, and disruption to billing, among the challenges related to the pandemic.

Accelerated and advance Medicare payments provide emergency funding and addresses cash flow issues based on historical payments when there is disruption in claims submission and/or claims processing. These expedited payments are typically offered in natural disasters to accelerate cash flow to the impacted health care providers and suppliers. In this situation, CMS is expanding the program for all Medicare providers throughout the country during the public health emergency related to COVID-19.  The payments can be requested by hospitals, doctors, durable medical equipment suppliers and other Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers.

To qualify for accelerated or advance payments, the provider or supplier must:

  • Have billed Medicare for claims within 180 days immediately prior to the date of signature on the provider’s/ supplier’s request form,
  • Not be in bankruptcy,
  • Not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation, and
  • Not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare overpayments.

Medicare will start accepting and processing the Accelerated/Advance Payment equests immediately. CMS anticipates that the payments will be issued within seven days of the provider’s request.

An informational fact sheet on the accelerated/advance payment process and how to submit a request can be found here.

This action, and earlier CMS actions in response to COVID-19, are part of the ongoing White House Coronavirus Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov. For a complete and updated list of CMS actions, and other information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

In addition, the AMA has pulled together a fact sheet on all the provisions of the CARES Act that impacts the medical profession, including students. Download AMA Summary of Selected Provisions in H.R. 748 CARES Act.