Provider Relief Fund Reporting, Figure Out How to Keep Your Money

Updated: June 4, 2021
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Provider Relief Fund Reporting, Figure Out How to Keep Your Money

Updated: June 4, 2021
Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Reporting HHS Funds

Update Notice: This blog post was reviewed for accuracy by a Healthcare Training Leader expert and was updated on June 4, 2021. This includes a revision to HHS’ FAQ page on 3/31/21 regarding eligibility for phase 3 General Distribution. Reporting HHS Funds.

Correctly reporting how you used the CARES Act Provider Relief funds you received from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is imperative. The problem is figuring out how.

Attesting to the funds that you received was the first step. Your practice had 90 days from the date that you received the money to attest to the terms and conditions and their receipt. Unfortunately, after that 90 days ends, HHS will deem you as having attested because you voluntarily kept the funds. That 90 period is up for phases 1, 2 and 3 of the loans.

Unfortunately, the rules related to reporting to HHS how you used the funds have changed multiple times. So, without a clear process in place, figuring out whether your obligation to repay the funds will be forgiven, or if you’ll be required to pay it back can seem impossible. However, there are some things you can do in the meantime. Reporting HHS Funds.

Online Portal Registration Reporting HHS Funds.

The HHS Provider Relief Reporting Portal isn’t actually open for reporting, but it will allow you to register. It’s important that you set up your registration, as this is where you will report on your use of the funds once it is available.

Also, as a registrant you’ll receive HHS updates related to their finalization of the reporting rules. This will ensure you get the latest HHS rule updates and are notified when the portal opens for reporting.  This will give you the best chance of getting your Provider Relieve Funds forgiven. These updates will be sent to the email address you use to register. Reporting HHS Funds.

Be aware that when you register, it MUST be done in one sitting since you cannot save any portion of an incomplete registration on the Portal. Below you’ll find a link to the HHS Provider Relief Fund Reporting Portal and several documents that will help you through the registration process.

What if You Want to Return the Money?

Unfortunately, if you didn’t do so before the deadline, there is no mechanism currently available for you to return the funds you received. And, as mentioned earlier, since HHS views you as attesting to them whether you did or not, you MUST report on them when the portal becomes available.

Provider Relief Fund Allowable Expenses

Although HHS has not published the final requirements and rules, experts agree that If you did not use all of the funds for COVID-19-related expenses or lost revenue due to the pandemic, you most likely will have to return it to HHS. Accordingly, to protect your practice against audits and fines relating to misusing the funds, you should already be keeping accurate detailed records of how much money you received and how you’ve used it. Reporting HHS Funds.

COVID-19 Related Expenses

HHS updated their FAQ on January 15, 2021 to explain that you will need to report “the actual healthcare related expenses attributable to coronavirus that were incurred over and above what has been reimbursed by other sources.” The updated FAQs specify the following items as reportable:

  • Supplies: used to prevent, prepare for, and/or respond to COVID-19 during the reporting period including personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer or patient screening supplies for patient screening
  • Equipment: used to prevent, prepare for, and/or respond to COVID-19 during the reporting period including ventilators, updates to HVAC systems, etc.
  • Information Technology (IT): or interoperability systems to expand or preserve care delivery during the reporting period, such as electronic health record licensing fees, telehealth infrastructure, increased bandwidth, and teleworking to support remote workforce
  • Facilities: used to prevent, prepare for, and/or respond to COVID-19 during the reporting period including lease or purchase of permanent or temporary structures or modification of facilities to accommodate patient treatment practices revised due to COVID-19
  • Other Healthcare Related Expenses: any other expenses not previously mentioned that were paid to prevent, prepare for, and/or respond to COVID-19

Although the above list may change when HHS publishes its final reporting requirements, you can use it as a guide to help organize your later reporting.

Based on the currently available guidelines (which could change), you can use your Provider Relief Funds for any of the above related expenses that you incurred before you received your payment. But heed caution, it is expected that reporting expenses dated prior to January 1, 2020 will most likely cause a problem. COVID-19 infection numbers were low in the United States in January. Therefore, the government will most likely not accept that reported expenses prior to that date were due to the coronavirus. Reporting HHS Funds.

COVID-19 Related Lost Revenues

Currently, HHS defines “lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus” as any revenue that you lost due to the pandemic. This may include revenue losses associated with

  • Decreased patient volume: Fewer outpatient visits
  • Fewer surgeries: Canceled elective procedures or services, or
  • More uninsured: Increased uncompensated care.

It is also anticipated that your Provider Relief Funds you received as compensation for pandemic-related lost revenue can be used to cover expenses that your reduced revenue would have covered. The current rules further clarify that costs can be included as long as they are related to the prevention, preparation or response of coronavirus. Although this may change, funds that mostly likely will meet this rule include:

  • Salaries: Employee or contractor payroll
  • Medical costs: Employee health insurance
  • Overhead: Rent or mortgage payments
  • Leases: Equipment lease payments
  • Software: Electronic health record licensing fees

Ultimately, how you calculate your lost revenue is up to you so long as a “reasonable method” is used. However, HHS does offer suggestions such as comparing your projected pre-COVID revenue to your actual revenue for March/April 2020 or comparing your same two-month 2020 revenue to 2019.

Final Rule Expectation

The numerous rule changes from HHS on how to report the usage of your Provider Relief Funds have been frustrating. However, one thing that everyone agrees on is that reporting will be required, and it will be imperative that you do it correctly.  HHS has made it clear that misuse of these funds will not be tolerated. In fact, the Agency has given themselves a three-year window to look back and audit how you used the money. 

It is expected that HHS will publish their final Provider Relief Fund reporting rules shortly. To ensure that you meet every reporting requirement, healthcare law attorney, Amanda L. Waesch, Esq., is presenting an online training that will walk you through the process. She will provide you with step-by-step guidance on how you can correctly adhere to the newly approved reporting terms and conditions and accurately report the use of your funds. Registration for this training is open, and to ensure access it is recommended that you sign up right away.

Note: The reporting items listed above were taken from HHS’ General and Targeted Distribution Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements updated on January 15, 2021.  The “Healthcare Expenses” section is from page 4 and the “Lost Revenues” section is from page 5.

The HHS FAQs were updated on March 31, 2021 regarding eligibility for Phase 3 General Distribution.

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Meet Your Writer

Samantha (Sam) Saldukas President, Healthcare Training Leader

Samantha (Sam) Saldukas started Healthcare Training Leader in 2012 after working as a leader in healthcare information for 20+ years. She wakes up every morning striving to help physician and dental offices improve the business-side of their practices. Her background in nursing and running her husband’s practice makes her passionate about figuring out how to help your practice succeed. More than 5 years later, thousands of practices have turned to Healthcare Training Leader for affordable, easy-access solutions to their most challenging business and regulatory issues. Some of the key topics include coding, billing, compliance, credentialing and practice management. Healthcare Training Leader guarantees the quality of every single training it offers.  Each session is backed by a money-back  guarantee of satisfaction to ensure you get what you need.