April 27, 2020
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Sunday, April 26, 2020 announced that it is suspending its Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for all Medicare providers. The agency is reevaluating the program in light of the $175 billion in direct payments being made available through U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund that was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
CMS had expanded this temporary loan program to increase cash flow to providers and suppliers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The advance and accelerated payments are not grants, and providers are typically required to pay back the funding within one year, or less. CMS reported that since March 28, 2020, $40 billion had been advanced to physicians, non-physician providers, and durable medical equipment suppliers. $60 billion had been advanced to hospitals and nursing facilities.
Funding will continue to be available to physicians and hospitals on the front lines of the coronavirus response primarily from the Provider Relief Fund. Payments from this fund do not need to be repaid.
The Provider Relief Fund has already released $30 billion to providers, and is in the process of releasing an additional $20 billion, with more funding anticipated to be released soon. This funding will be used to support health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure uninsured Americans can get treatment for COVID-19.
Click here for an updated CMS fact sheet on the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.