The federal Medicare agency is expanding its advance payment program for health-care providers to ensure they have enough funds and resources to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Saturday said the expansion is aimed at reducing financial hardships that providers are facing during the crisis. The CMS has previously called on providers to delay non-essential surgeries, and some health-care staff have been unable to work—causing further disruption to the industry.
“With our nation’s health care providers on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, dollars and cents shouldn’t be adding to their worries,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “Today’s action will ensure that they have the resources they need to maintain their all-important focus on patient care during the pandemic.”
Accelerated and advance payments are intended to provide emergency funding to hospitals, doctors, and other health-care providers that are facing disruptions in the Medicare claims process. The CMS said it’s expanding the program only for the duration of the crisis.
The CMS said it will start accepting requests immediately, and that payments will be issued within seven days of receiving the provider’s request.