On September 3, 2020, HHS announced the details of a $2 billion Provider Relief Fund (PRF) performance-based incentive payment distribution to qualifying nursing facilities. Unlike previous distributions to nursing facilities through the CARES Act, the payments are tied to performance metrics based on COVID-19 data submitted to CDC. Nursing facilities are not required to apply to receive the PRF incentive payments, which will be issued over four monthly performance periods based on data from September through December 2020.
To qualify for the PRF incentive payments, nursing facilities must have an active state certification as a nursing home or skilled nursing facility and receive reimbursement from CMS. Facilities must also report data to at least one of the following federal databases: Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports, Nursing Home Compare, or Provider of Services.
HHS will evaluate nursing facilities’ eligibility for the PRF incentive payments based on data from the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network LTCF COVID-19 module, which CMS began requiring nursing facilities to provide data to in May 2020. HHS will consider two data points in determining eligibility: 1) the facilities’ ability to keep new COVID-19 infection rates low among residents, and 2) the facilities’ ability to keep COVID-19 mortality low among residents. HHS will measure these two data points against a baseline level of COVID-19 infections in the community where each facility is located based on data from the CDC.
The $2 billion PRF incentive payments are a portion of the $5 billion distribution authorized by the CARES Act to support nursing homes struggling with the impacts of COVID-19 that HHS announced last month.
The full September 3, 2020 press release from HHS is available here.