Updated October 2, 2020
In order to increase cash flow to providers of services and suppliers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS expanded its current Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) program to a broader group of Medicare Part A providers and Part B suppliers. The expansion of this program was only for the duration of the public health emergency. In light of the additional funds appropriated under the CARES Act, CMS suspended the program on April 26, 2020.
An accelerated/advance payment is a payment intended to provide necessary funds when there is a disruption in claims submission and/or claims processing. These 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. CMS was authorized to provide accelerated or advance payments during the period of the public health emergency to any Medicare provider/supplier who submitted a request to the appropriate Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) and meets the required qualifications. As noted above, CMS suspended this program on April 26, 2020, and is no longer accepting applications.
Originally, recoupment and repayment of the loans made to physician practices was due to start in August 2020. APMA and other stakeholders successfully advocated for a delay of this automatic recoupment, and Congress made the following adjustments to the repayment timeline, as part of its Continuing Resolution (HR 8337) to fund the government through December 11, 2020:
It is important to note that HHS has firmly stated that providers cannot use Provider Relief Fund payments to repay payments made under the CMS AAP Program.