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HHS Updates Provider Relief Fund FAQs with Reporting Content

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week updated its FAQs document on Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments with new information on auditing and reporting, as well as using PRF payments for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The new FAQs, updated Oct. 28, specify that a provider may use PRF payments to cover the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. Providers also may use PRF funds to prepare for the distribution of a vaccine before it becomes available. For example, providers could apply PRF funds toward the purchase of refrigerators, personnel costs related to administering the vaccine, and acquiring doses of the vaccine.

However, the FAQs note PRF payments cannot be used to pay for purchasing vaccine doses and administering the vaccine to Medicare, Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries, because the costs of these beneficiaries’ vaccines are covered by these programs.

The updated FAQs also contain new questions related to PRF reporting (on pages 15 to 25 of the FAQ document). This additional content builds on the Oct. 22 post-payment reporting guidance issued by HHS, offering new details and examples on the reporting of expenses and lost revenues attributable to coronavirus, as well as nonfinancial information. Of note, the FAQs now state providers cannot use 2020 budgeted revenues to report lost revenues, a reversal of a position HHS had taken in a June version of the FAQs. The updated FAQs also address:

  • the use of PRF funds toward employee salaries and compensation;
  • the use of PRF funds toward marginal increased expenses related to coronavirus;
  • how to apply reimbursement from other sources toward health care expenses attributable to coronavirus;
  • documentation requirements related to PRF reporting;
  • claiming incrementally increased state provider taxes attributable to coronavirus as general and administrative expenses; and
  • the reporting of nonfinancial data, including the various categories of personnel and patient admissions.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Shahid Zaman is a senior policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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