This article has been updated as of April 27, 2020, to reflect recent changes announced by HHS.
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act providing $100 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers. The funding known as the Provider Relief Fund is to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, April 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed $30 billion in grants from the Provider Relief Fund to hospitals and providers.
Those eligible for the initial $30 billion included all healthcare entities and providers who received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) payments in calendar-year 2019. Payment amounts were determined by the eligible provider’s share of calendar-year 2019 Medicare FFS reimbursements.
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, HHS announced that it would be distributing an additional $20 billion to hospitals and other healthcare providers beginning Friday, April 24. HHS stated the $20 billion would be distributed so that the whole $50 billion would be allocated proportional to providers’ share of 2018 net patient revenue.
To receive a portion of the remaining $20 billion, providers must attest to having received their initial stimulus payment, then provide HHS with additional revenue information. Providers will need their latest Federal Tax Return and estimates of lost revenues for March and April 2020 to complete the request. Here is the HHS Payment Portal.
These are payments, not loans, with no repayment obligations. The funds are being distributed to eligible provider’s billing tax identification number (TIN) using direct deposit information on file with United, Optum, or Medicare (with “HHSPAYMENT” or “HHS Stimulus” as the payment descriptor), or via paper check for those providers who normally receive their Medicare reimbursement by check.
To receive the funds, healthcare entities and providers are not required to have treated patients specifically diagnosed with COVID-19 (HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19). Providers must agree not to seek collection of out-of-pocket payments from a COVID-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if the care had been provided by an in-network provider.
HHS requires providers to attest to receipt of the funds and agree to terms and conditions via an attestation portal, Attestation must occur within 30 days of receipt of the funds. Here is the Attestation Portal and here are the Terms and Conditions.
Healthcare entities who received funds should keep track of how the monies are spent as HHS can request documentation from the entity to prove funds were spent in alignment with their approved purpose.
HHS also announced that healthcare providers who provided treatment for uninsured COVID-19 patients on or after February 4, 2020, can request and be reimbursed at Medicare rates, subject to available funding. Providers can visit coviduninsuredclaim.hrsa.gov to register beginning April 27 and can begin submitting claims in early May 2020.
HHS will provide $10 billion from the Provider Relief Fund for hospitals in areas that have high numbers of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals had a deadline of 3:00 pm, Saturday, April 25, 2020, to apply for these funds.
An additional $10 billion from the Provider Relief Fund is being allocated to rural health clinics and hospitals. This money will be distributed proportionally using a methodology based on operating expenses. HHS stated that it desires to have this money distributed as early as the week of April 27, 2020.
HHS also announced that some providers would receive additional separate funding. HHS identified the providers as skilled nursing facilities, dentists, and providers that solely take Medicaid.
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The information provided in this communication is of a general nature and should not be considered professional advice. You should not act upon the information provided without obtaining specific professional advice. The information above is subject to change as a result of rapidly evolving legislative developments and government guidance.