HHS Provider Relief Funds Assist Healthcare Providers During the COVID-19 Crisis

$50 Billion in Total Funding Available, But Significant Compliance Requirements Must be Satisfied

In mid-April, you may have seen a significant payment from the Federal government mysteriously land in your provider bank account. With little notice or explanation, the U.S. Department Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) at that time sent a total of $30 Billion in Provider Relief Fund payments to all providers who billed Medicare for services in 2019. Since that initial round of payments, an additional $20 Billion of funding has been made available to these same providers, but rather than automatically receiving these funds, providers must now apply in order to be eligible to receive a second round payment. These Provider Relief Funds were authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) and are intended to assist healthcare providers in covering additional expenses and revenue shortfalls that healthcare providers are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

While the Provider Relief Fund payments are not loans and do not require repayment, providers accepting them must meet the eligibility requirements and attest that they are using these funds for their intended purpose- “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, and [utilize these funds only] for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus.” Providers receiving first round funds are required to attest to these conditions within 30 days of receiving their payment.

Recipients of Provider Relief Funds and other CARES Act-associated program funding exceeding $150,000 will be required to provide reports to DHHS regarding their use of the funds on a quarterly basis, beginning in July 2020. All providers, regardless of the amount of CARES Act-related funds received, should expect their use of these funds to be heavily scrutinized via DHHS- Office of Inspector General (OIG) audits. Providers who retain Provider Relief Funds without meeting the eligibility requirements, or who are unable to clearly document the use of the funds in the event of an audit, will be subject to the repayment of the funds, and could also face substantial civil or criminal penalties.

How Frier Levitt Can Help

The attorneys of Frier  Levitt have been carefully monitoring developments related to the Provider Relief Fund, and have substantial experience in working with clients on DHHS OIG-related matters. We are available to assist in determining your eligibility for Provider Relief Fund payments, providing guidance regarding the second-round application process, or developing a compliance and documentation plan that meets the stringent requirements of the program. Contact us today for assistance.