The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has ended its accelerated and advance payment program for all Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers. The agency had implemented the program on March 28 in an effort to counter widespread disruption in the health care space due to the ongoing pandemic.
Part of the reason for this action from CMS is the passage of the CARES Act and subsequent legislation that earmarked a total $175 million in financial aid to health care providers. Hospices were due to receive about $1 billion of these funds.
“Funding will continue to be available to hospitals and other health care providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response primarily from the Provider Relief Fund,” the agency indicated in a statement. “Beginning [April 26], CMS will not be accepting any new applications for the Advance Payment Program, and CMS will be reevaluating all pending and new applications for Accelerated Payments in light of historical direct payments made available through the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Provider Relief Fund.”
The Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Programs are typically used to give providers emergency funding and address cash flow issues for providers and suppliers when there is disruption in claims submission or claims processing, including during a public health emergency or Presidentially-declared disaster.
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.
During the month the program was in effect, CMS approved more than 21,000 applications from Part A providers. The agency distributed nearly $40.4 billion in payments to 24,000 Part B providers. Recipients typically have to pay back these funds within one year or less.