Does the New 90-Day Rule Apply to You?
Good news! After much lobbying, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline for providers to report how Provider Relief Fund grants have been used. Here’s what we know about the update so far – and what you need to do now.
What Is the Provider Relief Fund?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS announced $178 billion in relief funds as part of the CARES Act. This included money set aside for hospitals and healthcare providers, home health providers, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), hospices, and others on the front lines of the coronavirus response.
Originally, the concept was to help providers cover the costs of essentials such as workforce testing and PPE. However, it quickly became apparent that many facilities could face closure because of lost revenues. Therefore, HHS amended PRF rules to enable providers to use PRF grants to cover this shortfall in revenues.
How Does PRF Work?
To apply for PRF, you will have:
- Determined your eligibility to apply
- Validated your Tax ID Number (TIN)
- Submitted your application for PRF grants
- Received the payment
- Attested to the payment
- Reported on the use of the funds
Funds are deposited into the healthcare provider’s TIN, where the provider is eligible to receive them. To be eligible, you must have billed Medicare fee-for-service in 2019, and:
- Be a known Medicaid and CHIP or dental provider
- Provide or have provided – after January 31, 2020 – diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19
The grants are deposited into the provider’s TIN that normally receives Medicare payments. They are paid via Optum Bank with ‘HHSPAYMENT’ as the payment description.
What Has Changed?
The deadline for reporting how you used your PRF grant and to return any unused PRF funds was June 30, 2021. However, this has now been revised and extended, after several providers and advocacy groups lobbied for an extension.
The reasons for the extension include that not all providers received grants at the same time, and many are seeking clarification as to what COVID-19 expenses are eligible. The changes mean that you now have 90 days to report rather than a 30-day reporting period, and the June 30 deadline has been removed.
Bullet-pointed, the main changes are:
- Funds are available based on the date you received payment, rather than to be used by June 30
- You now have a 90-day period to complete reporting
- Those who must report include recipients of the Skilled Nursing Facility and Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution in addition to general and other targeted distributions
What Should You Do Now?
If you have received PRF grants, you should register in the PRF Reporting Portal. This takes around 20 minutes to do.
As soon as you are able, you should make your report. You can do so from July 1, 2021.
You must report for each Payment Received Period during which you received one or more payments exceeding an aggregate of $10,000.
You Must Repay What You Don’t Use
The PRF is a grant, which means it does not have to be repaid. However, this only applies to the portion of PRF that you use. Any amount that is unused must be repaid – and if you keep it longer than 90 days, you will also be liable to pay interest accrued.
Finally, if you have received PRF and attested to receipt of payment, HHS does plan to make this public.
If things change again, we’ll try to keep you informed. It’s a fluid situation, but, at the time of writing, the above is the information you need if you have received PRF grants into your TIN.