Medicare will start offering extra funds to healthcare suppliers across the U.S., including up to 125 percent of the normal amount for critical response hospitals, according to FierceHealthcare.
There will also be up to 100 percent offered for most suppliers for an extra three-month period, and inpatient acute care facilities, children's hospitals and some cancer hospitals can request up to 100 percent of the payments for six months.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided this past weekend that it would offer expanded advanced payment options due to the coronavirus pandemic's mass stresses on the nation's healthcare operations.
These sorts of payment forgiveness schemes are usually enacted during natural disasters for healthcare providers in specific affected areas. In the case of the coronavirus, the CMS is offering the expedited payments to the entire country, if needed.
Hospitals, doctors, medical suppliers, and other Medicare Part A and Part B suppliers will be able to request the payments, CMS said. The provider or suppliers must have billed Medicare for claims in the last 180 days before the request, not be bankrupt, not be under review for medical or program integrity cases, and not owe any outstanding Medicare payments.
The majority of hospitals will have a year from the date of their accelerated payments to repay the balance owed.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the expanded funding is aimed at easing the extreme burdens on the financial system, as providers have been asked to delay nonessential but still revenue-generating surgeries and some employees haven't been able to work due to childcare demands.
“Unfortunately, the major disruptions to the healthcare system caused by COVID-19 are a significant financial burden on providers," she said in the report. "[This] action will ensure that they have the resources they need to maintain their all-important focus on patient care during the pandemic.”
The virus has strained the nation's health systems, pushing hospital capacities to the brink with mass influxes of infected patients as crucial elements, such as protective face masks and ventilators, have seen shortages.