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Accelerated and Advance Payment Program Instituted for Providers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided nearly $34 billion in funds to providers that are currently treating and containing the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). CMS instituted the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to ensure that providers have the necessary funds to help control and manage the pandemic.

This program reduces request processing times for advanced payment. In the normal course of billing, it takes weeks to treat, discharge, and receive payment for services. COVID-19 has caused tremendous financial issues for providers, and this program provides a safety net to keep operations going while continuing to treat patients. The process for accelerated payments used to take up to one month to approve. Now, it only takes four to six days to process and approve. As of today, out of 25,000 requests, 17,000 have been approved.

Who Is Covered Under This Plan?

  1. Part A providers (including hospitals)
  2. Part B suppliers (including, doctors, non-physician practioners, and durable medical equipment [DME])

How It Works

An important note about this program is that the funding is separate from the $100 billion approved under the CARES Act. Money provided through the CARES Act doesn’t have to be repaid. Under this program, money is funded from the Hospital Insurance program (Medicare Part A) and the Supplementary Medical Insurance program (Medicare Part B and Prescription Drug Coverage) trust funds, which are used to pay Medicare claims. This program works as a loan, and CMS will apply claims submitted to offset the loaned funds. Providers taking advantage of this program will have up to one year to repay the loan.

For more information, review the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announcement.