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The programs were expanded in late March to provide emergency loans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they'll take a backset to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants program.

Citing the availability of new relief money, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has suspended its advance payment program for Medicare part B providers, and says it's reevaluating its accelerated payment program for Part A providers.

Unlike the money now being disbursed through a $175 billion CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, the programs being curtailed by CMS require recipients to pay back the funds received.

In an April 26 press release, CMS announced it has suspended its Advance Payment Program to Part B providers and will no longer be accepting applications. At the same time, the agency is reevaluating all pending and new applications in the Accelerated Payment Program used mostly by Medicare Part A providers. Since March 28, the combined programs delivered $100 billion in payments. In addition to its press release, CMS published an updated fact sheet on the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs.

According to CMS, the change in course is largely due to the infusion of $175 billion in relief funds to HHS, which is disbursing $50 billion to providers in the form of direct deposits that, unlike the AAP funds, don't need to be paid back. Beginning April 10, HHS released $30 billion to providers based on 2019 Medicare billing, with a follow-up release of $20 billion aimed at providers who didn't qualify for the first round of funds. Last week, an additional $75 billion was added to the provider relief fund by way of a new COVID-19 relief package signed into law. HHS has not announced how those funds will be used.

APTA continues to track the status of additional relief funds and will share information as it becomes available.

About the Relief Funds
Unlike the $30 billion in funds based on Medicare billing, the $20 billion in relief released beginning April 24 requires certain cost report data to be on file in order to qualify. You may be able to do that retroactively through this CMS general distribution portal, and find out more through this FAQ page. Also remember that for both the $30 billion and $20 billion programs, you'll need to sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and acknowledging the program's terms and conditions.

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