Special Update: Recent Developments in Federal and State Provider Coronavirus Relief
Updated PRF Reporting Requirements Broaden the Use of Provider Relief Funds
The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published original Reporting Requirements on September 19, 2020 for providers who received Provider Relief Fund (“PRF”) distribution payments exceeding $10,000 in the aggregate. On October 23, 2020, HHS updated these same Reporting Requirements, in part, due to backlash from providers and their advocates on the ways in which the funds may be used.
Provider relief funds are first applied to healthcare expenses attributable to coronavirus and any remaining amounts are then applied to lost revenue. The September Reporting Requirements defined lost revenue as “a negative change in year-over-year net patient care operating income.” This was a blunt deviation from HHS guidance offered in June 2020 which defined lost revenue as “any revenue that… a health care provider lost due to coronavirus.” The proposed definition was thought to have resulted in many providers having to return funds, further aggravating the financial hardships and uncertainty providers continue to face as a result of the pandemic. In response, stakeholders and Members of Congress communicated their concerns to HHS. As a result of this feedback, HHS revised the Reporting Requirements to define lost revenue as “a negative change in year-over-year actual revenue from patient care related sources.”
Providers should begin gathering data and documentation needed to comply with the updated Reporting Requirements, mainly documentation supporting any healthcare related expenses attributable to coronavirus, any lost revenue pursuant to the new definition, and certain demographic and other non-financial data as described in the Reporting Requirements. The full updated Reporting Requirements can be found here.
The first reporting deadline for funds used through December 31, 2020 is February 15, 2021. The second deadline for funds used, if any, after December 31, 2020 is July 31, 2021. Although previously set to open on October 1, 2020, the reporting system will now open January 15, 2021. Eligible providers can still apply for Phase 3 General Distribution provider relief funds by November 6, 2020.
Nebraska Offers a Second Round of Coronavirus Relief Grants
Stabilization Grants for Licensed Providers. Nebraska’s Community CARES Stabilization Grant provides grants to Nebraska-licensed health facilities, such as assisted living facilities, hospice services, long term care facilities, and rural heath clinics. Grants are awarded in the amounts of $12,000 or $27,000, depending on the facility’s service area or licensed bed capacity. The funds may be used to pay expenses necessary to continue business operations, such as rent, utilities, and payroll, and COVID-19 related expenses such as PPE and cleaning supplies. These funds must be used by December 30, 2020.
Small Business Stabilization Program. Nebraska’s Small Business Stabilization program provides grants in the amount of $12,000 on a first-come, first-served basis. Nebraska-owned for-profit businesses that are licensed to withhold state income taxes are eligible to apply. The funds may be used as working capital to pay for operational expenses, with the purpose of sustaining businesses during the pandemic’s economic downturn and its recovery.
The deadline to apply for grants under both programs is November 13, 2020. Applicants can apply here.
If you have questions about any of the above, please contact any member of the Koley Jessen Health Law Practice.
Special thanks to our Law Clerk, Raquel Boton, for her help in writing this article.