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CMS reevaluating Accelerated Payments, suspending Advance Payments

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The agency stopped accepting new applications for the Advance Payment Program April 26.

CMS, CARES, physicians, relief fund

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reevaluating the Accelerated Payment Program and suspending the Advance Payment Program after having disbursing more than $100 billion through the program, according to a news release.

The release says that the two temporary loan programs were expanded in order to shore up resources to providers and suppliers as they battled the beginning stage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. CMS stopped accepting new applications for the Advance Payment Program on April 26, and is reevaluating all pending and new applications for Accelerated Payments in light of the new funding sources available.

The announcement followed Congress’ appropriation of $175 billion in funding for healthcare provider relief payments. CMS says that these funds will still be available for healthcare facilities through the Provider Relief Fund, according to the release.

Since the programs were expanded on March 28, CMS approved more than 21,000 applications for a total of $59.6 billion in payments to Part A providers and approved more than 24,000 applications for a total of $40.4 billion in payments to Part B suppliers. The programs were not grants and both providers and suppliers are expected to pay back the funds in a year or earlier, the release says.

Funding is still available to healthcare providers, though, as Congress made $100 billion in aid available through the CARES Act, and $75 billion in aid available through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Both sets of funds are being disbursed the Department of Health and Human Services through the Provider Relief Fund, the release says.

The provider relief fund has already disbursed $30 billion and is in the process of disbursing an additional $20 billion and more to be disbursed soon. The funds will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue that can be attributed to the pandemic and to ensure uninsured patients can receive COVID-19 treatment, the release says.

More information on the Provider Relief Fund can be found here.

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