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HHS Extends Provider Relief Fund Application

On July 31, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced that it would be reopening the application for providers who did not originally receive funds from the $50 billion general distribution of the Provider Relief Fund (“PRF”). The PRF was created in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, because the pandemic caused many providers to either lose a significant portion of patients or providers had to care for many more patients in unprecedented ways. The first phase of the general distribution was initially distributed in two “tranches” back in April, but many providers either failed to apply quick enough or were just rejected. The first tranche of $30 billion was automatically distributed, but the second tranche of $20 billion had to be applied for by providers. The second phase covered those providers who did not qualify for the first phase.

Between August 10 and August 28, 2020, providers who missed the application period or were rejected from the second tranche can once again apply to receive funding. Providers can receive funding up to 2 percent of the applying provider’s annual patient revenue.

As mentioned above, the first tranche was automatically distributed based on 2019 CMS payment data. Because it was solely based on 2019 data, some practices that changed ownership at the beginning of 2020 were not permitted to receive payments—yet they were still severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, any previous owner who was distributed funds but no longer owned the medical practice was not permitted to transfer the general distribution funds to the new practice owners but could only return the payments to HHS. Thus, between August 10 and August 28, 2020, providers who experienced a change in ownership may submit their revenue information along with all documentation showing the change in ownership in order to receive funding from the PRF.

Lastly, in additional to the first phase of the general distribution, a second phase was announced in June. The second phase of the general distribution allotted for Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, CHIP, and dental providers to also receive up to 2 percent of reported revenue from patient care. This was meant to cover any provider who did not receive funding in the first phase. Providers who missed the initial deadline of August 3 may now also apply up until August 28, 2020.

The extended applications for these various programs can be found here. For over 30 years, Wachler & Associates has represented healthcare providers and suppliers nationwide in a variety of health law matters, and our attorneys can assist providers and suppliers in understanding new developments and funding by HHS. Wachler & Associates will continue to stay up to date with all other COVID-19-related news.  If you or your healthcare entity has any questions pertaining to healthcare compliance, please contact an experienced healthcare attorney at 248-544-0888 or wapc@wachler.com.

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