Physicians urge CMS to restart Advance Payment Program

The American Medical Association, on behalf of its physician and medical student members, sent a letter to CMS urging the agency to restart and expand the Advance Payment Program. 

In late March, CMS expanded the payment program to a broader group of healthcare providers to help offset the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency suspended the advance Medicare payments to Part B suppliers, including physicians, other medical professionals and durable medical equipment suppliers, on April 26, two days after President Donald Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

In an April 28 letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the AMA asked the agency to quickly reinstate the program with more flexible terms. 

"Given the uncertainty facing physician practices as the pandemic is on different surge timelines in communities across the country, we fear physician practices may not resume normal operation in the immediate future and will continue to need access to cash flows to keep their doors open for patients," the AMA said. 

The AMA also urged CMS to expand the program to Medicaid providers. 

"While the CARES Act and the recently enacted Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act may provide much needed financial relief for many physicians, we are concerned that the resources provided may not reach Medicaid practices and providers and that these funds alone may not be sufficient to sustain practices and ensure patient access," the AMA said. 

As of April 26, CMS had approved nearly 24,000 applications advancing $40.4 billion in payments to physicians, other healthcare practitioners and durable medical equipment suppliers. The agency has delivered nearly $60 billion in payments to Part A providers, which includes hospitals. CMS announced on April 26 that it is reevaluating all pending and new applications for accelerated payments to hospitals.

More articles on healthcare finance:
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More than $1B in bailout funds go to CHS, HCA and UHS

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