FAQs About the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

FAQs About the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

Assistentcy, LLC Helps You Navigate How to Use Your Funding and Provide Documentation

The Provider Relief Fund, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is a federal program that allocated $175 billion to be distributed to health care providers for health-care-related expenses or lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be eligible for the program, the provider must have given care or provided diagnosis or testing for actual or possible COVID-19 patients on or after January 31, 2020. As long as providers comply with the terms and conditions of receiving these funds, they do not need to repay them.

Although the deadline to apply has passed, the program itself is complex and can be confusing. To help you navigate the program, Assistentcy, a national provider of early out services and self pay services based in Lenexa, Kansas, has assembled this list of frequently-asked questions for you.

Who is considered a health care provider under the CARES Act?

The program considers a provider to be anyone or any entity that provides health care, services, and support in a medical setting, at home, or in the community. This includes the “traditional” definition of medical providers, including acute care hospitals, primary care clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, multi-specialty practices, and inpatient facilities, and extends it to include dental services, diagnostic services, suppliers, ancillary services, nursing homes, foster care services, and pharmacies. Hospitals and health systems in all states and territories of the United States are eligible for Provider Relief Fund payments.

Is it too late to apply for Phase 3 General Distribution?

Unfortunately, if you have not already applied for funding, it is too late to do so. The Department of Health and Human Services accepted applications through Friday, November 6, 2020.

I forgot to attest to the payment. What do I do now?

If you didn’t attest your payment from the Provider Relief Fund within 90 days, DHHS considers you to have accepted the money.

What can I use my CARES Act funding for?

You can use the funding you receive to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, or reimburse healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues you experienced because of coronavirus. You cannot use your funding for expenses or losses that other sources have already reimbursed.

If you received more than $10,000 from the fund, you are required to submit reports about how you used your distribution. Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Workforce training
  • Reporting COVID-19 test results to the government (federal, state, or local)
  • Building or constructing temporary structures for COVID-19 patient care or to house non-COVID patients in a separate area
  • Acquisition of additional resources to expand or preserve care delivery, including facilities, supplies, or staffing
  • Development of staffing emergency operation centers

I already applied for funding, and I am looking for my status. Where do I find it?

If you submitted your application prior to November 6, you should have received confirmation about your application status. If you have questions, contact the CARES Act Provider Support Line at 866-569-3522 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday. For TTY, dial 711.

Do I have to pay back the money I received?

If you use your funding for expenses approved by the terms and conditions you agreed to when applying, you do not need to repay the money.

I also received COVID-19-related funding from the Paycheck Protection Program. Does that affect how I can use my payment from the Provider Relief Fund?

As long as you are using the money from the Provider Relief Fund for expenses that have not already been reimbursed by the Paycheck Protection Program, you are allowed to receive and use both.

Will a tax-exempt health care provider have to pay taxes on the payment received from the Provider Relief Fund?

In general, no. If you are a health care provider described in section 501(c) of the Code, you are generally exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(a). Refer to the Internal Revenue Service website and your tax professional for more information.

Will I receive a Form 1099?

Yes, you will receive a 1099 for any funding you received if it was more than $600. The government intends to mail these forms by the end of January 2021. If you’ve established an account with UnitedHealth Group and elected to receive electronic copies of documents, you will not receive a hard copy in the mail, however.

How long do I have to use the funds I received?

You must use your funding no later than June 30, 2021. You are required to return unused funds.

Can I use Provider Relief Fund dollars before applying Medicaid or CHIP reimbursement to cover expenses or lost revenues because of coronavirus?

No. You may not use these funds for reimbursement of care that already has been reimbursed through other means. You can only apply these funds to remaining expenses or costs uncovered by other reimbursement sources.

Are expenses related to securing and maintaining personnel reimbursable?

Yes! Expenses you accrue in order to secure and maintain adequate personnel are considered COVID-19-related expenses if the activity for which you have the expenses was newly created after the declaration of the Public Health Emergency, and the expenses were necessary to secure and maintain personnel.

Can outsourced or third-party vendor services that enable access to health care services be reimbursed under the Provider Relief Fund?

Yes. Services like these are considered reimbursable expenses if you incurred them as a result of coronavirus.

Can I use my Provider Relief Fund payment to pay taxes?

Yes. Taxes imposed on Provider Relief Fund payments are considered healthcare expenses attributed to coronavirus and can be reimbursed with this money, except for Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution payments.

Can I use my funds to pay employee salaries?

Yes. Full-time, part-time, contract, and temporary labor expenses are eligible, unless you’ve already been reimbursed for them from other sources, or if only incremental unreimbursed amounts are claimed.

However, you cannot pay an employee in excess of Executive Level II, set at $197,300. This number is exclusive of benefits and indirect costs.

When reporting how I used the funds, how will my organization’s “lost revenues attributable to coronavirus” be calculated?

These lost revenues are calculated upon a calendar year comparison of 2019 and 2020. The amount of lost revenues eligible for reimbursement through the Provider Relief Fund is capped at the change in 2019 to 2020 actual revenue from patient-care-related sources, minus the Provider Relief Fund amount used to cover expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reported patient care revenue is net of uncollective patient service revenue recognized as bad debts. Prevent these bad debts by working with an early-out services provider like Assistentcy.

What Provider Relief Fund documents do I need to keep and for how long?

Retain original documentation for three years after you submit your final expenditure report.

Can I use my payments to support COVID-19 vaccination distribution, or to cover the costs of vaccination, including purchasing doses and paying administration fees?

Yes, you can use your funds to support expenses associated with distributing the vaccine, as long as you have not been reimbursed by other sources. This includes funds to purchase additional refrigerators, personnel costs to provide vaccines, and transportation costs.

You cannot use your funds to reimburse expenses already covered by other sources, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. If the reimbursement you received for these does not cover the full cost, you may use your Provider Relief Fund money to cover the remaining costs.

I’m unhappy with the amount of funding I was approved for. What can I do?

HHS apportioned the relief funds to U.S. health care providers in such a way as to make the biggest beneficial impact. There is no appeals process.

Let Assistentcy handle your early-out self-pay billing.

If your bottom line has suffered as a result of coronavirus, Assistentcy can help you by creating a customized early-out program that complies with all laws, and saves your practice time and money.

To get your own early out services, contact us today.

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