CMS will speed $34B in payments to hospitals

CMS has approved nearly $34 billion in payments to hospitals and other healthcare providers in the past week through the expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, the agency announced April 7. 

CMS has received roughly 25,000 requests from healthcare providers and suppliers for advance payments in the past week, and 17,000 of those requests have been approved. That's compared to the 100 total requests CMS approved in the past five years. 

To help hospitals under financial strain due to COVID-19, CMS has reduced the processing time for advance payment requests to less than one week, compared to the previous time frame of three to four weeks. 

"Healthcare providers are making massive financial sacrifices to care for the influx of coronavirus patients," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said. "Amid a public health storm of unprecedented fury, these payments are helping providers and suppliers — so critical to defeating this terrible virus — stay afloat."

The accelerated payments are not part of the $100 billion emergency fund authorized in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to reimburse healthcare providers for expenses or lost revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The advance and accelerated payments are a loan that healthcare providers must pay back, while funding provided under the CARES Act does not need to be repaid. 

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