CMS Releases First Payments From CARES Act Provider Relief Fund
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the first $30 billion of the $100 billion Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act. The funding was included in the Act to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue because of COVID-19. All Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) providers, including hospitals, nursing facilities, home health agencies and hospice agencies, are eligible to receive funding. The amount paid to each provider is approximately 6.2% of Medicare FFS payments in 2019 and is considered a grant that will not have to be paid back.
While payment is madeautomatically to all FFS providers, the funding does come with terms and conditions, as described on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website. Within 30 days of receipt, all providers are required to sign an attestation confirming they received the funds and agree to the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions state the funds are only for prevention, preparation and response to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the funds cannot be used “to reimburse expenses or losses that have been reimbursed under other sources or that other sources are obligated to reimburse.”
These terms and conditions allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require recipient reporting. Any provider that has received over $150,000 in total from the CARES Act and other acts passed to appropriate funds will have additional reporting requirements. An explanation of these requirements are available on page 1 of the terms and conditions.
If a provider does not wish to follow the terms and conditions, the provider must contact HHS within 30 days to have the funds returned to HHS. Appropriate contact information has not been provided by HHS but will be added to the website above when available.
CMS Waives March 2020 Payroll-Based Journal Submission Requirement
Update: On April 20, 2020, we received the following guidance from CMS regarding Payroll-Based Journal submissions for the first quarter of 2020:
“We are still waiving the May 15th submission deadline at this time, but facilities should anticipate reporting the Quarter 2 PBJ data (January 1st-March 31st) at a later date. We will provide further information as it becomes available.”
Quarter 2 referenced in the guidance refers to federal fiscal Quarter 2, which corresponds to calendar Quarter 1. Based on this guidance, CMS is not removing the requirement for first quarter submissions as previously thought, but instead is giving providers an extension to submit until a later date. The exact date is unknown at this time.
Healthcare providers are facing challenges and uncertainties beyond what we’ve ever seen before. HW&Co. is here to assist you in any way we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance.