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CMS Suspends Advance Payment Program, Reexamining Accelerated Payments

Analysis  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   April 27, 2020

The suspension of the Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers comes after CMS made over $100 billion in payments to provider organizations.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Sunday that it would suspend the Advance Payment Program effective immediately and reevaluate the money paid under the Accelerated Payment Program.

The moves came after CMS made over $100 billion in payments to provider organizations battling the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Programs were expanded in late March to assist hospitals and health systems facing financial issues associated with caring for infected patients.

In a press release, CMS stated that nearly $60 billion has been distributed in payments to Part A providers, while another $40 billion has been distributed in payments to Part B supplies.

Related: To 'Keep The Lights On,' Doctors And Hospitals Ask For Advance Medicare Payments

CMS stated that funding will remain available to hospitals and other healthcare providers through the Provider Relief Fund, which was established by the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act.

The fund has already distributed $30 billion to providers and is slated to release another $20 billion as part of a $484 billion relief bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump late last week.

In the past month, over $170 billion has been allocated by the federal government to healthcare providers dealing with the pandemic.

Related: 4 Coronavirus Financial Considerations for Health System Leaders

Related: Hospitals on the Hook for New Medicare Prior Authorization Process

Earlier this month, CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated that the agency had stepped in to streamline the process for distributing AAP program payments to hospitals making "massive financial sacrifices" by treating patients infected with COVID-19.

"Many are rightly complying with federal recommendations to delay non-essential elective surgeries to preserve capacity and personal protective equipment," Verma said in a media release. "They shouldn't be penalized for doing the right thing."

Related: CMS Approves $34B in Medicare Payment Advances

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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