new-provider-relief-fund-rules

HHS recently updated Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements, extending the period of availability of funds and reporting periods.

The update to the Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements states that clinicians now have a period of availability of funds based on the date they received the payment, rather than the original deadline of June 30, 2021. The original deadline was regardless of when clinicians received payments from the Provider Relief Fund.

This revised reporting requirement gives some clinicians up to the end of the year to use money from the Provider Relief Fund, if they accepted the money anytime after July 1, 2021.

Clinicians who received money through the Provider Relief Fund will also now have 90 days to complete reporting on where that money went versus a 30-day reporting period, according to the revised reporting requirements.

Additionally, clinicians will now have to report for each “Payment Received Period” in which they accepted one or more payments exceeding $10,000, in aggregate. Previously, clinicians had to report if they received $10,000 cumulatively across all distributions of Provider Relief Funds.

Skilled nursing facilities and nursing home infection control distribution centers will also be subject to Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements now if they received one or more payments over $10,000, HHS added.

The Provider Relief Fund reporting Portal will open for providers to start submitting required data on July 1, 2021.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) thanked HHS on Friday for extending the deadline for using Provider Relief Fund money. The hospital group’s president and CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement that the revised reporting requirements will “give some health care providers more time to spend emergency coronavirus funding will help to ensure that hospitals and health systems can continue the battle against COVID-19 as cases persist.”

“The Provider Relief Fund has been a life-line to hospitals, health systems and caregivers across the country, helping to keep our doors open during the pandemic in order to continue providing essential services to patients and communities,” Pollack also stated.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) also praised the new Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements.

“Specifically, we appreciate HHS acknowledging our concerns regarding the timeline to spend and report funds disbursed as part of this critical program. By increasing the timeframe to report from 30 to 90 days and implementing a staggered deadline to use the PRF payments, medical groups won’t have to rush to meet prior arbitrary deadlines,” Anders Gilber, senior vice president of government affairs at MGMA, said in a statement emailed to RevCycleIntelligence.

Healthcare industry stakeholders have been pushing HHS to extend the reporting requirements. In May, a bipartisan group of 77 Congress members urged HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to reconsider the June 30th deadline for spending unused grant money from the Provider Relief Fund.

“While we thank HHS for the instrumental role it has played in distributing financial assistance to providers, we are concerned that existing program requirements limit the impact of relief measures enacted by Congress,” they explained the letter.

AHA had also submitted a letter to Becerra that month calling for an extension of Provider Relief Fund deadlines, along with a request to expedite distributions of remaining Provider Relief Funds.

Congress allocated a staggering $178 billion to the Provider Relief Fund to be used as grants for clinicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reimbursement for the testing, treatment, and vaccination of uninsured and underinsured COVID-19 patients.

There are reportedly tens of billions of dollars still left as of early May, according to stakeholders. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan also allocated another $8.5 billion for rural providers.

For more information: https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/new-provider-relief-fund-rules-give-more-time-to-use-report-money

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