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HHS Provides Guidance on CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Financial Reporting

6/3/20 – Dave Macke

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On June 2, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated the FAQs and provided some important guidance on the scope of COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenues for purposes of the quarterly reporting which begins with the quarter ending June 30, now due July 10, 2020.  At this point in time, the HHS has not released the report form that providers will be required to submit to the HHS. The following FAQ for the reporting guidance originates from the HHS website. 

The Terms and Conditions state that Provider Relief Fund payments will only be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus and shall reimburse the Recipient only for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus. What expenses or lost revenues are considered eligible for reimbursement?  

The term “health care related expenses attributable to coronavirus” is a broad term that may cover a range of items and services purchased to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including:

  • supplies used to provide healthcare services for possible or actual COVID-19 patients;
  • equipment used to provide healthcare services for possible or actual COVID-19 patients;
  • workforce training;
  • developing and staffing emergency operation centers;
  • reporting COVID-19 test results to federal, state, or local governments;
  • building or constructing temporary structures to expand capacity for COVID-19 patient care or to provide healthcare services to non-COVID-19 patients in a separate area from where COVID-19 patients are being treated; and
  • acquiring additional resources, including facilities, equipment, supplies, healthcare practices, staffing, and technology to expand or preserve care delivery.

Providers may have incurred eligible health care related expenses attributable to coronavirus prior to the date on which they received their payment. Providers can use their Provider Relief Fund payment for such expenses incurred on any date, so long as those expenses were attributable to coronavirus and were used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. HHS expects that it would be highly unusual for providers to have incurred eligible expenses prior to January 1, 2020.

The term “lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus” means any revenue that you as a healthcare provider lost due to coronavirus. This may include revenue losses associated with fewer outpatient visits, canceled elective procedures or services, or increased uncompensated care. Providers can use Provider Relief Fund payments to cover any cost that the lost revenue otherwise would have covered, so long as that cost prevents, prepares for, or responds to coronavirus. Thus, these costs do not need to be specific to providing care for possible or actual coronavirus patients, but the lost revenue that the Provider Relief Fund payment covers must have been lost due to coronavirus. HHS encourages the use of funds to cover lost revenue so that providers can respond to the coronavirus public health emergency by maintaining healthcare delivery capacity, such as using Provider Relief Fund payments to cover:

  • Employee or contractor payroll
  • Employee health insurance
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Equipment lease payments
  • Electronic health record licensing fees

All providers receiving Provider Relief Fund payments will be required to comply with the reporting requirements described in the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund website and specified in future directions issued by the Secretary. HHS will provide guidance in the future about the type of documentation we expect recipients to submit. Additional guidance will be posted here.

The CARES Act Provider Relief Funds FAQs can be found here. These FAQs are updated frequently, so we recommend checking this site on a regular basis. 

For any questions related to this update, or healthcare reimbursement services, please contact Dave Macke at dmacke@vlcpa.com or 800.887.0437.