HHS Clarifies Provider Questions on Attestation, Payment Portal, and Targeted Distributions
This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued two additional rounds of updates to its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding distributions from the Provider Relief Fund. These updates—released on June 8 and 9 and consisting of 50 new or modified FAQs—provide clarity on issues including attestation, the payment portal, and targeted distributions.
Key Guidance Issued This Week:
- At the time of accepting a Provider Relief Fund payment, providers do not need to prove that prior and/or future lost revenues and increased expenses attributable to COVID-19 meet or exceed their Provider Relief Fund payment. If a provider accepts a Provider Relief Fund payment and, at the conclusion of the pandemic, has leftover funds that cannot be used on permissible expenses or losses, the provider should return the excess money to HHS. Instructions on how providers may return unused funds have not yet been issued. This guidance replaces previously published FAQs instructing that a provider must not accept a Provider Relief Fund payment and should return the entire amount if greater than a provider’s expected expenses and losses. While HHS reiterated its right to audit providers and recoup inappropriately used funds, this new guidance clarifies a certain measure of flexibility that providers have in calculating their eligible expenses and losses, particularly given the seeming open-endedness of attempting to determine when the pandemic will conclude.
- Provider Relief Fund payments are not subject to the claims of a provider’s creditors. A provider may utilize a Provider Relief Fund payment to satisfy a creditor’s claim, so long as the claim constitutes an eligible health care-related expense or lost revenues attributable to COVID-19 that were made or incurred to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the coronavirus, as set forth in the Terms and Conditions.
Other Noteworthy FAQs Issued This Week:
- The statutory provisions listed in the Terms and Conditions apply to the Provider Relief Fund payments associated with those Terms and Conditions. Those statutory provisions (e.g., the Executive Level II compensation cap) may also apply to other government funding that a provider receives through other relief programs. A provider is responsible for analyzing the rules applicable to other relief programs to determine what statutes apply.
- A provider should use its most recently completed tax year’s filings when submitting its revenue information in the Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal. If a provider has its 2019 tax filings available, those tax filings should be used.
- When completing an application, a parent organization should list the billing TINs of its eligible subsidiaries that provide or provided after January 31, 2020, diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19. In the application, the parent entity should enter the sum of all “gross sales or receipts” or “program service revenue” of all eligible subsidiary entities that provide or provided after January 31, 2020, diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19. Any revenues from subsidiaries that are not directly providing diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19 may not be included.
- An Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal is available as of June 10, which will initially be used to allow eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers (e.g., pediatricians, long-term care, and behavioral health providers) to report their annual patient revenue, which will be used as a factor in determining their Provider Relief Fund payments. Previously, the Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal was used for providers who received a General Distribution payment prior to Friday, April 24. HHS has now developed the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal for providers who did not receive payments under the previous General Distribution.
The June 8 and 9 updates also include extensive FAQs regarding High Impact Area Targeted Distributions and Medicaid Targeted Distributions. See the FAQs to review this new guidance.
Our Chambliss team continues to monitor health care developments and other legal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact Mark Cunningham, Courtney Keehan, Jed Roebuck, or your relationship attorney if you have questions or need additional information.
- HHS Issues Three Additional Rounds of Updates to the Provider Relief Fund FAQs
- HHS Extends Deadline to Attest to Provider Relief Fund Terms and Conditions by 45 Days
- HHS Issues Additional Terms and Conditions and Guidance Under the Provider Relief Fund FAQs – General Distribution Eligibility; Sold, Transferred, and Terminated Providers; and Parent-Subsidiary Relationships
- HHS Updates Provider Relief Fund FAQs – Distribution Errors, Recent Acquisitions of Practices/Hospitals, and Updating High Impact Data
- HHS Provider Relief Fund: General Distribution FAQ Updates; Addition of Targeted Allocation FAQs
- HHS Updates Provider Relief Fund General Distribution FAQs – Extends Attestation Deadline to 45 Days
- Available Now: HHS Frequently Asked Questions Regarding General Distribution Portal
- Open Now: HHS General Distribution Portal
- Delivery of Next Wave of HHS Provider Relief Authorized
- Health Care Providers: What Can I Do With the Money I Just Received from HHS?
- CARES Act Provider Relief Fund
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The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings, and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. In some cases, the underlying legal information is changing quickly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Please contact your legal counsel for advice regarding specific situations.