HHS to Release More Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund Payments

Date March 23, 2022
Authors HBK Healthcare Solutions
Categories

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced an additional $413 million in Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments to be distributed to more than 3,600 healthcare providers. The timing of the distribution was not announced, but HHS said that the new release means that approximately 89 percent of Phase 4 applications have been processed.

The announcement follows nearly $9 billion released by HHS in December 2021 and another $560 million to COVID-impacted providers in February 2022. Overall, the Department said, it has distributed nearly $12 billion in Phase 4 payments to more than 82,000 healthcare providers since November 2021.

Provider Relief Fund payments are designed to help healthcare providers whose operations have been negatively impacted by the variants of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the agency, the funds are intended to help providers “to remain in operation and to continue supporting patient care by covering a variety of costs including personnel, recruitment and retention initiatives, medical supplies, information technology, and many other functions.” The agency also noted that Phase 4 payments are intended to reimburse Medicare and Medicaid providers for lost revenues and increased expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers.

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HHS to Release $2 Billion More in Provider Relief Fund Payments

Date January 27, 2022
Authors HBK Healthcare Solutions
Categories

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced an additional $2 billion in Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments will be distributed to more than 7,600 U.S. providers. The distribution follows nearly $9 billion released by HHS in December 2021 and brings the total funding to providers through the PRF and American Rescue Plan to more than $18 billion over the past three months.

In its January 25 release, the HHS characterized its Phase 4 payments as “reimbursing a higher percentage of losses for smaller providers and incorporating ‘bonus’ payments for providers who serve Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare beneficiaries,” adding that “approximately 82 percent of all Phase 4 applications have now been processed.” Provider Relief Fund payments are designed to help healthcare providers whose operations have been negatively impacted by the variants of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are intended to help providers “to remain in operation and to continue supporting patient care by covering a variety of costs including personnel, recruitment and retention initiatives, medical supplies, information technology, and many other functions,” noted the HHS release.

“Provider Relief Fund payments have served as a lifeline for our nation’s heroic health care providers throughout the pandemic, helping them to continue to recruit and retain staff and deliver care to their communities,” noted HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding is just the latest example of the Biden-Harris administration’s dedication to ensuring that providers continue to have the resources they need to meet the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19 and keep providing critical services to the American people.”

For more information on the Phase 4 funding or 0ther provider relief funding, call HBK Healthcare Solutions at (330) 758-8613 or contact us by email at jzarlenga@hbkcpa.com

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An Update to Ohio’s Plan to Distribute $350 Million to the State’s Long-Term Care Providers

Date January 18, 2022
Categories

Ohio has not yet distributed any of the funds for long-term facilities and services that its General Assembly appropriated in House Bill 169. As of Monday, January 18, the Ohio Department of Medicaid had not filed for the necessary federal approvals with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, attributing the holdup to a change in the methodology for distributing the $300 million designated for skilled nursing facilities, which was to be based on numbers of certified beds. The revised formula has 75 percent of the payout based on Medicaid days from 2020 cost reports. The remaining 25 percent is to be distributed according to “quality points” from the July 1, 2021, rate-setting, without excluding facilities ranking lower than the 25th percentile.

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CMS Sets Vaccine Mandate Deadline for 24 More States

Date January 17, 2022
Authors Healthcare Solutions
Categories

Following the announcement Thursday that healthcare providers in 24 states had been added to the federal vaccine mandate roster, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Friday that those workers must be fully vaccinated by March 15. The 24 states joined 25 others, Washington, D.C, and territories, whose workers must have at least one COVID-19 shot by January 27, and be fully vaccinated by February 28. The mandates are based on guidance issued December 28 and follow Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling removing an earlier injunction to the mandate issued by a lower federal court.

The sweeping mandate applies to workers at hospitals and other healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. “Regardless of clinical responsibility or resident contact, the policies and procedures must apply to … individuals who provide care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its residents, under contract or by other arrangement.”

The states included in the compliance memo are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The mandate now extends to all U.S. states except Texas, where a preliminary injunction still applies.

The CMS memo warned that, “Facilities that do not meet these parameters could be subject to additional enforcement actions depending on the severity of the deficiency and the type of facility … (including) plans of correction, civil monetary penalties, denial of payment, termination, etc.”

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Supreme Court Allows Healthcare Worker Vaccine Mandate

Date January 13, 2022
Authors Healthcare Solutions
Categories
In a ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a federal mandate requiring healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal money to be vaccinated. The 5-4 decision means a vaccine requirement for workers at all U.S. nursing homes and other federally funded healthcare facilities issued by the Biden administration can proceed. The mandate applies to workers at hospitals and other healthcare facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It would affect more than 17 million workers, according to the administration. In a separate 6 to 3 vote, the Court blocked the administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers.

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HHS Extends Application Deadline for Phase 2 Funds

Date August 3, 2020
Authors Michael DeLuca
Categories

Late Friday, July 31, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the application deadline for Phase 2 general distribution of CARES Act funds for Medicaid, CHIP and dental providers. The deadline, first extended to Monday, August 3, now extends to Monday, August 28, allowing eligible providers additional time to prepare and file their applications.

Along with the extension, HHS released two additional key provisions:

  1. A new application would allow certain Medicare providers a second chance for relief funds of up to 2 percent of their annual patient revenues. In April, many of these Medicare providers received automatic payments based on their 2019 Medicare fee-for-service revenue. In the event this payment did not reach the intended goal of 2 percent of that practice’s annual revenues, providers could have applied for additional funding. Beginning the week of August 10, HHS will allow these Medicare providers—including private physician practices, facilities, etc.—who previously missed the opportunity to apply for additional funding. These applications will also be due by Monday, August 28.
  2. HHS relied on 2019 data to determine the automatic payments in the original round of funding. In the event a provider or provider practice had a change in ownership in 2020, these payments might have gone to the original owners. Beginning the week of August 10, providers that did not receive funding due to a change in ownership may submit their revenue information, along with documentation proving a change in ownership, by August 28 for consideration for a Provider Relief Fund payment.

  3. The HHS said it is working to address relief payments to new providers in 2020 along with those that have yet to receive funding for a variety of reasons. Those yet to receiving funding include providers that only bill commercially or do not directly bill for the services they provide under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

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HHS Releases Grant Money to Medicaid Providers

Date June 16, 2020
Authors HBK CPAs & Consultants
Categories

On June 9, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the distribution of an additional $15 billion from the Provider Relief Fund to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers. The distribution is intended to make supply relief available to the 38 percent of Medicaid and CHIP providers who did not receive payments in the initial General Distribution of Provider Relief Fund Payments in April and May.

Eligible providers include, but are not limited to, assisted living facilities, pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists, dentists, opioid treatment providers, and behavioral health clinicians. These monies, like the General Distribution, are extended as a grant that requires recipients to meet HHS compliance criterion.

To be eligible, providers must have:

  • Not received payments from the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund General Distribution, and
  • Directly billed their state Medicaid/CHIP program or Medicaid managed care plans for healthcare-related services between January 1, 2018 to May 31, 2020

Eligible providers who submit an application will receive a payment equal to at least 2 percent of their reported gross revenue from patient care. The application deadline is July 20, 2020.

The provider should have the following available for the application:

  • “Gross Receipts or Sales” or “Program Service Revenue” as submitted on its federal income tax return broken out by payer mix
  • Estimated revenue losses in March 2020 and April 2020 due to COVID-19
  • Copy of the most recently filed federal income tax return
  • Listing of the Tax Identification Numbers of subsidiary organizations that do not file separate tax returns
  • Copy of IRS Form 941 or 940 for the first quarter of 2020

If you have any questions, HBK’s Healthcare Solutions team is here to help. Feel free to contact us at (330) 758-8613 or email me directly at kcrouthamel@hbkcpa.com.

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HHS Releases Second Wave of Grant Money to Healthcare Providers

Date April 28, 2020
Categories

As part of its $2.2 trillion aid package, Congress appropriated $100 billion in financial relief to healthcare providers. The funds are being distributed through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to hospitals, public entities, not-for-profit entities, and Medicare- and Medicaid-enrolled suppliers and institutional providers to cover unreimbursed healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic. Funds are provided as a grant, given compliance with the criteria as listed on the HHS website, including that they cannot be used for the same expenses as proceeds from a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

HHS distributed an initial $30 billion of the $50 billion general distribution fund between April 10 and 17. While providers were not required to submit an application for these funds, they are required to verify receipt of the funds through the HHS general distribution portal.

On April 24, HHS began distributing the remaining $20 billion. Certain providers were automatically sent an advance payment based on the revenue data they submit in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) cost reports. Providers who receive their money automatically still need to submit their revenue information through the HHS general fund portal.

On April 27, HHS opened the general fund portal for providers who received automatic payments to report revenue. Providers that did not receive the automatic advance may be eligible for additional funds by accessing the general distribution portal and providing IRS tax filings and estimates of lost revenues in March and April of 2020. Providers that have not already confirmed receipt of monies from the original $30 billion distribution will need to complete the verification, then reenter the portal to proceed with an additional application.

To be eligible, a provider must:

  • Have received a Provider Relief Fund Payment by 5:00 pm EST, Friday April 24.
  • Attest to having received the payment via the Provider Attestation Portal, and agree to the Terms and Conditions on the attestation portal.

Providers should be prepared to provide the following:

  • A provider’s “Gross Receipts or Sales” or “Program Service Revenue” as submitted on its federal income tax return
  • Estimated revenue losses in March 2020 and April 2020 due to COVID
  • A copy of the provider’s most recently filed federal income tax return
  • A listing of the Tax Identification Numbers of any of the provider’s subsidiary organizations that have received relief funds but that do not file separate tax returns

If you have questions, we’re here to help. Contact us at (330) 758 – 8613; or email me at jzarlenga@hbkcpa.com.

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