(June 5, 2020) – On June 2, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services updated their FAQs on the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to include information on expenses or lost revenues that are considered eligible for reimbursement for the funding health care providers have received from the various tranches of payment. The FAQ, which is listed under the category of Terms and Conditions, indicates that health care related expenses attributable to coronavirus is a broad term that may cover a range of items and services purchased to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including:
- Supplies used to provide healthcare services for possible or actual COVID-19 patients;
- Equipment used to provide healthcare services for possible or actual COVID-19 patients;
- Workforce training;
- Developing and staffing emergency operation centers;
- Reporting COVID-19 test results to federal, state or local governments;
- Building or constructing temporary structures to expand capacity for COVID-19 patient care or to provide health care services to non-COVID-19 patients in a separate area from where COVID-19 patients are being treated; and
- Acquiring additional resources, including facilities, equipment, supplies, health care practices, staffing and technology to expand or preserve care delivery.
The FAQ also clarifies the term "lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus" to mean any revenue that you as a health care provider lost due to coronavirus. This may include revenue losses associated with fewer outpatient visits, canceled elective procedures or services or increased uncompensated care. Providers can use Provider Relief Fund payments to cover any cost that the lost revenue otherwise would have covered, so long as that cost prevents, prepares for or responds to coronavirus. Thus, these costs do not need to be specific to providing care for possible or actual coronavirus patients, but the lost revenue that the Provider Relief Fund payment covers must have been lost due to coronavirus. HHS encourages the use of funds to cover lost revenue so providers can respond to the coronavirus public health emergency by maintaining healthcare delivery capacity, such as using Provider Relief Fund payments to cover:
- Employee or contractor payroll;
- Employee health insurance;
- Rent or mortgage payments;
- Equipment lease payments; and
- Electronic health record licensing fees.
HHS further indicates all providers receiving Provider Relief Fund payments will be required to comply with the reporting requirements described in the Terms and Conditions and specified in future directions issued by the Secretary. HHS will provide guidance in the future about the type of documentation the Agency expects recipients to submit on the CARES Act Provider Relief page.
Review further information on this FAQ, which is listed under the category of Terms and Conditions, as well as other FAQs on the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund webpage.