UPDATE: On April 23, 2020, HHS extended the April 23 deadline for hospitals to submit data that will inform how the $10 billion allocated for hospitals in high COVID-impact areas is distributed to April 25, 2020. This alert has been updated to reflect the new deadline.
On Wednesday, April 22, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced additional allocations of funds from the $100 billion appropriated for provider relief in the CARES Act (the Provider Relief Fund). These allocations will include: (1) a general allocation of $50 billion (including the $30 billion already distributed), (2) $10 billion for hospitals in areas that have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, (3) $10 billion for rural providers, (4) $400 million for the Indian Health Services, and (5) payments for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured. For a hospital to be eligible to receive payments from the $10 billion being allocated for hospitals in high COVID-impact areas, hospitals must submit data by 3:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. PT), Saturday, April 25.
General Allocation of $50 Billion. On April 10, 2020, HHS began the first distribution of $30 billion from this Provider Relief Fund. That distribution apportioned $30 billion in funds among Medicare-participating providers and suppliers based on their federal fiscal year 2019 proportional Medicare payments. HHS’s announcement indicates that an additional $20 billion will be distributed in the coming weeks, and that the $20 billion distribution will be reconciled with the $30 billion distribution so that the entire $50 billion in payments is allocated based on providers’ 2018 revenue data. Providers that have submitted cost reports including this revenue data for 2018 will receive an advance payment automatically and will separately submit revenue information for verification. All other providers will need to submit their revenue data through a portal that will open this week. Providers receiving funds from the general allocation must sign an attestation and agree to the terms and conditions of payment, just as with the initial distribution of $30 billion.
Allocation for COVID-19 High Impact Areas. According to HHS’s Provider Relief Fund page, $10 billion will be allocated for a targeted distribution to hospitals in areas that have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. In order for a hospital to be eligible for this distribution, they will need to provide the following information through an online portal by 3:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. PT), Saturday, April 25:
- Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- National Provider Identifier (NPI)
- ICU Beds: Total number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds as of April 10, 2020. HHS has indicated that this includes any ICU bed (including pediatric ICU (PICU) beds) that is staffed as of this date.
- COVID-19 Admissions: Total number of admissions with a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 from January 1, 2020 to April 10, 2020.
The information is to be provided through an authentication portal established by an HHS vendor, TeleTracking. The portal reportedly supports data entry by individual hospital, as well as batch data submissions for group- or enterprise-level reporting. The requested data is reported in the tab titled “Provider Relief Fund.”
Hospital and facility administrators should have received an email from HHS on Sunday April 12, or thereafter, with instructions and a link to register on TeleTracking. If it is unclear who received the email or if there are any questions about registering on the portal and submitting data, hospitals can contact TeleTracking Technical Support at 877-570-6903.
Allocation for Rural Providers. HHS also announced an additional allocation of $10 billion for rural health clinics and hospitals, which will be distributed as early as next week on the basis of operating expenses.
Treatment of Uninsured COVID-19 Patients. Part of the remaining Provider Relief Fund will be used to reimburse healthcare providers, at Medicare rates, for COVID-related treatment of uninsured patients. In early May 2020, providers will be able to request claims reimbursement through the program for treatment provided to uninsured COVID-19 patients on or after February 4, 2020. In order to participate, providers will need to enroll as a provider participant on or after April 27, 2020, check patient eligibility and benefits, and submit patient information and claims. Additional information is available through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).
Other Allocations. HHS also announced $400 million to be allocated for Indian Health Service facilities, distributed on the basis of operating expenses. HHS also noted that there may be further, separate funding for some providers, including skilled nursing facilities, dentists, and providers that solely take Medicaid. Finally, it is worth noting that the House of Representative is expected to vote on an additional COVID-19 relief bill on Thursday, April 22, which would allocate an additional $75 billion to the Provider Relief Fund.
HLB’s Coronavirus Task Force is monitoring developments closely. For federal and state resources on COVID-19, please refer to our COVID-19 Resource Page.
For further information, please contact Katrina Pagonis or Mark Reagan in San Francisco, Alicia Macklin, Lloyd Bookman or Nina Adatia Marsden in Los Angeles, Mark Johnson in San Diego, Martin Corry in Washington D.C., Amy Joseph in Boston, or your regular Hooper, Lundy & Bookman contact.