UPDATE: To the Great Relief of Health Care Providers, HHS Revises Reporting Requirements and Expands Relief Funding Eligibility

Arnall Golden Gregory LLP

Many healthcare providers were pleased to review the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) October 22, 2020 press release, which updates existing relief fund reporting requirements and expands funding eligibility.  The news is welcome for previously ineligible providers as many continue to struggle with increased expenses and losses due to COVID-19 and for relief funding recipients with concerns about certain provisions of recently released reporting requirements.

  • Reporting requirements: In its press release, HHS summarizes its previous and now controversial requirement related to reporting:

HHS [previously] updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to clarify that for purposes of relief payments for lost revenues attributable to COVID-19, recipients must submit information showing a negative change in year-over-year net patient care operating income. This definition sought to balance fairness and establish guardrails to restrict some providers from receiving distributions that would make them more profitable than they were before the pandemic.”

As a result of negative feedback, HHS is amending the reporting instructions to increase flexibility as to how providers can apply relief funding to lost revenues attributable to coronavirus. Now, providers may use remaining funding to cover lost revenue, measured as “a negative change in year-over-year actual revenue from patient care related sources,” after reimbursing healthcare related expenses attributable to coronavirus that were unreimbursed by other sources.

  • Expanded eligibility: HHS also expanded (or further clarified) the list of eligible providers that may apply for Phase 3 funding regardless of whether they accept Medicaid or Medicare, including:
    • Behavioral Health Providers
    • Allopathic & Osteopathic Physicians
    • Dental Providers
    • Assisted Living Facilities
    • Chiropractors
    • Nursing Service and Related Providers
    • Hospice Providers
    • Respiratory, Developmental, Rehabilitative and Restorative Service Providers
    • Emergency Medical Service Providers
    • Hospital Units
    • Residential Treatment Facilities
    • Laboratories
    • Ambulatory Health Care Facilities
    • Eye and Vision Services Providers
    • Physician Assistants & Advanced Practice Nursing Providers
    • Nursing & Custodial Care Facilities
    • Podiatric Medicine & Surgery Service Providers

Providers should note that all Phase 3 applicants will have until 11:59 PM EST on November 6, 2020 to submit applications for payment consideration, including providers that have received relief funding in the past, but HHS is encouraging providers to submit as soon as possible.

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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