Written by James R. Taylor and Andres A. Sanchez
On Friday, April 24, 2020, the United States Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) announced the start of the remaining distributions from the $50 Billion General Distribution portion of the Provider Relief Fund. HHS distributed the initial $30 Billion on April 10th and 17th to eligible Medicare providers. Unlike the initial distributions that were sent directly to eligible providers, the remaining $20 Billion will be distributed through an application process, with the goal of a final allocation of all General Distribution funds proportionate to a provider’s share of 2018 net patient revenue.
Although some providers that are subject to cost reporting may automatically receive a second distribution from HHS, most providers will need to apply for the additional funding through the General Distribution Portal, accessible at: https://covid19.linkhealth.com/docusign/#/step/1. The application requires the provider to disclose the following financial information:
- “Gross Receipt or Sales” or “Program Service Revenue” as submitted on the federal income tax return;
- Estimated revenue losses in March 2020 and April 2020 due to COVID-19;
- A copy of the provider’s most recently filed federal income tax return;
- A listing of the TINs any of the provider’s subsidiary organizations that have received relief funds but which do not file separate tax returns.
Similar to the first distribution, recipients of a second distribution are required to agree to a set of Terms and Conditions. While largely similar to the initial Terms and Conditions, the second batch contains the following additional requirements:
- Recipient shall submit general revenue data for calendar year 2018; and
- Recipient consents to HHS publicly disclosing the Recipient’s Relief Fund Payments. Additionally, the “Recipient acknowledges that such disclosure may allow some third parties to estimate the Recipient’s gross receipts or sales, program service revenue, or other equivalent information.”
In its announcement, accessible at https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/index.html, HHS issued the following notice to providers:
“The Terms and Conditions also include other measures to help prevent fraud and misuse of the funds. All recipients will be required to submit documents sufficient to ensure that these funds were used for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to coronavirus. There will be significant anti-fraud and auditing work done by HHS, including the work of the Office of the Inspector General.”