New Provider Relief Fund Application Portal Now Open
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress set aside $100 billion to reimburse health care providers for lost revenue and increased costs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. These funds are being disbursed by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If health care providers meet certain conditions, these provider relief fund payments do not need to be repaid.
CARES Act Health Care Provider Fund Disbursement
As of April 24, 2020, $30 billion of the $100 billion allocation was disbursed to eligible providers in proportion to their Medicare fee for service payments in 2019. These disbursements occurred in the middle of April, with the providers who received funds were not required to do anything other than complete an attestation. It was the intent of the HHS that much of the balance of the relief funds would be allocated for disbursement using the Provider Relief Fund Application Portal (Portal).
Provider Relief Fund Application Portal
This Portal went live on April 24, 2020, and Medicare providers which already received disbursements from the relief fund are now eligible to apply for additional funds by submitting data about their annual revenues and estimated COVID-19 losses using the Portal. Providers who have not yet received any disbursements are not eligible to receive funds using the Portal, however, they may still be eligible to receive CARES Act payments through other means, including targeted distributions.
Provider Relief Funds are disbursed using general and targeted distributions. General distributions total $50 billion and are intended to replace a percentage of a provider’s annual gross receipts, sales, or program service revenue. Targeted distributions are intended to help those providers who either are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic or who have not received any of the general distributions.
The Portal collects four types of information for use in disbursements:
- Gross Receipts or Sales or Program Service Revenue as reported on the provider’s federal income tax return
- Estimated revenue loss between March and April 2020 due to the coronavirus
- The most recently filed federal income tax return
- All of the TINs of any of the provider’s subsidiary organizations that have received relief funds but that do not file a separate tax return
HHS Portal User Guide and FAQs
The HHS has issued both a User Guide and FAQs to assist providers in using the Portal. The User Guide recommends the provider’s CFO or accounting professional complete the Portal application. The HHS also continues to issue guidance to providers with regard to both the Provider Relief Fund and the Portal.