CMS announced on Sunday, April 26, that it is suspending payments under the Advanced Payments Program to Part B suppliers immediately and reevaluating payment amounts under the Accelerated Payment Program. The Accelerated and Advanced Payments Programs enable Medicare providers and suppliers to receive advance Medicare payments and address cash flow issues during a disruption in claims submissions and processing, including a public health emergency. Funding provided through these programs are not grants, and typically must be repaid within one year or less depending on the provider or supplier type. In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, Congress expanded the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs to encompass a broader group of Medicare Part A providers and Part B suppliers during the COVID-19 public health emergency (previously covered by the HL Pulse here).
In light of the appropriated funding for hospitals and healthcare providers in the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act, effective April 26 CMS will no longer accept new applications for the Advance Payment Program. CMS will also reevaluate all new and pending applications for Accelerated Payments. Additional funding to support hospitals and other healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic will now primarily come from the Provider Relief Fund created under the CARES Act.
The CARES Act provided an initial $100 billion appropriation for healthcare providers, and Congress appropriated an additional $75 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. HHS is distributing these funds through the Provider Relief Fund, and unlike allocations under the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs, payments made to healthcare providers do not need to be repaid. Provider Relief Fund payments totaling $30 billion have already been made to providers and an additional $20 billion is forthcoming.
The updated CMS fact sheet on the Accelerated and Advanced Payments Programs may be found here.
Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys will continue to provide relevant updates for healthcare providers on the Health Law Pulse during the COVID-19 public health crisis.