Coronavirus: CMS program could provide financial relief for practices

March 30, 2020

The move is aimed at ensuring physicians have the financial resources to keep their practices going.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded its accelerated and advance payment program to ensure physicians have the resources needed to battle the COVID-19 coronavirus.

According to a news release on the expansion, the accelerated and advance Medicare payments provide provides cash flow based on historical payments when there is disruption in claims submission or processing. They are typically offered in natural disasters.

CMS is expanding the program to Medicare providers across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic and payments can be requested by hospitals, doctors, durable medical equipment suppliers, and other Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers, the release says.

“With our nation’s health care providers on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, dollars and cents shouldn’t be adding to their worries,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma says in the release. “Unfortunately, the major disruptions to the healthcare system caused by COVID-19 are a significant financial burden on providers. Today’s action will ensure that they have the resources they need to maintain their all-important focus on patient care during the pandemic.”

To qualify for accelerated or advance payments, the physician must:

  • Have billed Medicare for claims within 180 days immediately prior to the date of the signature on their request form

  • Not be in bankruptcy

  • Not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation

  • Not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare overpayments

Medicare will begin accepting and processing requests immediately and CMS anticipates the payments will be issued within seven days of the physician’s request, the release says.

As of March 30, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 approached 2,500 with more than 1,000 in New York the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, according to The New York Times. Globally, the number of positive COVID-19 cases has risen above 638,000 and deaths have risen past 30,000, according to the World Health Organization.