In an effort to counter widespread disruption in the health care space due to the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding its accelerated and advance payment program for all Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers.
The program, typically implemented during natural disasters or other catastrophic events, distributes emergency funds to health care providers based on historical payments during times when the claims submission or processing systems are interrupted or overloaded.
“With our nation’s health care providers on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, dollars and cents shouldn’t be adding to their worries,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Unfortunately, the major disruptions to the health care system caused by COVID-19 are a significant financial burden on providers. Today’s action will ensure that they have the resources they need to maintain their all-important focus on patient care during the pandemic.”
The expansion is pursuant to the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which the president signed on Friday. CMS indicated that the agency’s goal was to reduce the financial hardships the pandemic has imposed on health care providers, including hospices, who are contending with frightened patients, impeded access to patients, supply problems, patient and workforce safety concerns and difficulties related to staffing.
Qualified entities must have billed Medicare for claims within 180 days immediately prior to the date of signature on the provider’s or supplier’s request form. The organization must not be in bankruptcy, not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation, and must not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare overpayments.
CMS has posted instructions for how providers can request to participate in the program. Medicare will start accepting and processing the Accelerated/Advance Payment Requests immediately, according to CMS.