As part of its ongoing efforts to provide relief during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded the Medicare Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program to temporarily increase cash flow for impacted providers. The program, which has been in existence for many years, is “intended to provide necessary funds when there is a disruption in claims submission and/or claims processing. Expedited payments can also be offered in circumstances such as national emergencies, or natural disasters in order to accelerate cash flow to the impacted health care providers and suppliers.” As part of CMS’ response to the COVID-19 PHE, the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program has been expanded to include a larger number of Part A and Part B Medicare providers and time frames for issuing accelerated and advance payments have been significantly reduced from several weeks to approximately seven days.
The Accelerated and Advance Payment Program allows eligible providers to request up to three months of expected Medicare payments to be made if their business operations have been impacted by the COVID-19 PHE. In order to be eligible to participate in the program, providers must have billed Medicare within the last 180 days, cannot be in bankruptcy, cannot be under active medical review, and cannot have any delinquent Medicare overpayments. Repayment of Medicare accelerated, or advance payments will begin after 120 days of the request and all re-payment must be completed within 210 days of the request.
CMS has published a very informative fact sheet on the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, including additional resources on how to apply for accelerated and advance payments.
The decision regarding whether to apply for Medicare accelerated and advance payments should be based on the individual needs of your practice but may be a viable option to temporarily increase cashflow during the COVID-19 PHE.