HHS Updates Provider Relief Fund Reporting Guidance and Timelines

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After months of quiet introspection, on June 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released long-awaited updated Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements, which outlines updated reporting obligations on HHS Provider Relief Fund recipients. In addition, HHS issued a series of new FAQs related to the reporting process.

Outlined below are some of the more noteworthy highlights from the recent HHS guidance.

New Timelines for Using & Reporting on the use of Provider Relief Funds

Recipients who received one or more payments exceeding $10,000 in total during a “Payment Received Period” are required to report in each applicable “Reporting Time Period.” In other words, it seems that recipients cannot submit a report in the July-September 2021 reporting period for all Provider Relief Funds received if some of those funds were received on or after July 1, 2020.  Deadlines for reporting on the use of the Provider Relief Funds depend upon when the recipient received the funds as noted below. Recipients who do not report within the respective Reporting Time Period will be considered out of compliance with payment Terms and Conditions and the relevant Provider Relief Funds may be subject to recoupment.

Period Payment Received Period
(Payments Exceeding $10,000 in Aggregate Received)
Reporting Time Period
1 April 10, 2020 to June 30, 2020 July 1, 2021  to September 30, 2021
2 July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 January 1, 2022  to March 31, 2022
3 January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021 July 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022
4 July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 January 1, 2023  to March 31, 2023

The deadline for using Provider Relief Funds for eligible COVID-19 attributable expenses and losses (i.e., the “period of availability” for the funds) likewise depends on when the funds were received as outlined below. Funds will be available for at least 12 months and a maximum of 18 months, with payments considered “received” on the deposit date for automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments or the check-cashed date.

Period Payment Received Period Deadline to Use Funds
1 April 10, 2020 to June 30, 2020 June 30, 2021
2 July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 December 31, 2021
3 January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021 June 30, 2022
4 July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 December 31, 2022

Additional Key Guidance

  • Parent entities can report on behalf of their subsidiaries with respect to any General Distribution (i.e., Phase 1, 2 or 3) funds received by the parent or subsidiaries. However, the original recipient of any Targeted Distributions must report with respect to the use of the Targeted Distribution funds. This is required regardless of whether the parent or subsidiary received the Targeted Distribution payment or whether the original recipient subsequently transferred the payment. (Transferred Targeted Distribution payments face an increased likelihood of an audit.)
  • Reporting entities are expected to report on their use of Provider Relief Funds using their normal basis of accounting (e.g., cash or accrual) and to submit consolidated reports.
  • Overall, the new reporting guidelines are more detailed than prior versions, detailing what subsidiary information must be reported, information related to acquisitions and dispositions, and certain tax and audit information.
  • In the new guidance, HHS includes information on how recipients of the SNF and Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution payments will report on these funds. The reporting mechanism will enable these recipients to submit a consolidated report that distinguishes the use of the SNF and Nursing Home Infection Control Distributions funds from other General and Targeted Distribution payments.
  • The burden of proof is on the reporting entity to ensure that they maintain adequate documentation that the funds were used for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues attributable to COVID-19, and that those expenses or losses were not reimbursed from (or obligated to be reimbursed by) other sources.
  • If a recipient does not have sufficient COVID-19 attributable expenses or losses to support the funds received, the funds must be returned to HHS. HHS indicates that recipients will be able to return unused funds through the Reporting Portal when the first reporting period begins on July 1, 2021.

We will continue to monitor updates related to Provider Relief Fund reporting guidance and timelines and provide additional updates as released. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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