Next $20 Billion in Provider Relief Comes into Focus

HHS is now taking applications for Phase 3 of the Provider Relief Fund, but the process requires providers to share more details on revenue and expenses from patient care.

HHS has released $20 billion for the Phase 3 distribution of Provider Relief Fund payments, with the application window opening Oct. 5 and closing Nov. 6

The funds are open to providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments through Phases 1 and 2, as well as providers that began practicing in 2020 that were previously ineligible for those first two phases.

Providers that will be eligible for Phase 3 General Distribution funding include:

  • Those who previously received, rejected or accepted a General Distribution Provider Relief Fund payment. Providers that have already received payments of approximately 2 percent of their annual revenue from patient care may submit more information to become eligible for an additional payment.
  • Behavioral health providers, including those that previously received funding and new providers.
  • Healthcare providers that began practicing Jan. 1 through March 31. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, dentists, assisted living facilities and behavioral health providers.

How Payment Will Work

HHS is urging eligible providers to apply early, because the consideration for Phase 3 fund distribution involves some additional steps.

First, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will review all provider submissions to confirm they have received the aforementioned Provider Relief Fund payment equal to approximately 2 percent of patient care revenue from prior general distributions. Applicants that have not yet received Relief Fund payments of 2 percent of patient revenue will receive a payment that, when combined with prior payments (if any), equals 2 percent of patient care revenue.

Then, the remaining balance of the $20 billion budget, HRSA will then calculate an equitable add-on payment that considers the following:

  • A provider’s change in operating revenues from patient care.
  • A provider’s change in operating expenses from patient care, including expenses incurred related to coronavirus.
  • Payments already received through prior Provider Relief Fund distributions.

“… HHS is urging all eligible providers to apply early; do not wait until the last day or week of the application period,” a statement from HHS read. “Applying early will help to expedite HHS’s review process and payment calculations, and ultimately accelerate the distribution of all payments.”

To apply, providers should submit at the Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal.

Like the previous phases, HHS will require all payment recipients to attest to receiving the Phase 3 General Distribution payment and accept the Phase 3 Terms and Conditions.

HHS is hosting a “Provider Relief Fund – Phase 3 Informational Webcast” on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. Eastern to assist providers.

The American Association for Homecare recommended that providers review HHS’s extensive Phase 3 FAQ, and highlighted that they can contact the Provider Support Line at (866) 569-3522 for help.

Other Pertinent Details

All recipients must accept or reject any phase funds within 90 days of payment, and can attest or reject the payment at the PRF’s Application and Attestation Portal. If a provider doesn’t take action, HHS will conclude the recipient has accepted the Terms and Conditions and will publish the provider’s name and payment amount on the CDC’s online list of PRF recipients.

Like the previous phases, providers that received more than $10,000 or more through the Provider Relief Fund must report expense information. The details include:

  •  Demographic information, such as TIN, NPI, etc.
  • Expenses attributable to COVID-19. This includes general and administrative (G&A) expenses, such as mortgage, rent, insurance, etc.; and other healthcare related expenses, such as supplies, equipment, IT, etc.
  • Lost revenue due to COVID-19.
  • Additional non-financial data, such as facility, staffing, etc.

The full reporting details are available from HHS’s PRF reporting and auditing page.

Providers receiving the funds should know that the HHS OIG will audit $50 billion in PRF payments. Also, providers that received $750,000 or more will be subject to a Single Audit requirement, according to updated guidance from HHS.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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