Providers will need to act to receive their share of $20B relief fund

by Richard Scott on Apr 24, 2020
April 27 update: HHS posted a link to the "General Distribution Portal" that requires providers to submit revenue information to gain their portion of the $20 billion in funds. You can find a direct link to the portal on the HHS Provider Relief Fund website. The original article appears below.
Starting today a second wave of relief payments — totaling $20 billion — is on its way to health care providers and hospitals. But take note: To access and keep the relief funds, providers must verify their 2018 payment receipts with the federal government.
The new cash infusion follows the earlier release of $30 billion to health care providers that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distributing in mid-April. Both series of payments are part of the broader $100 billion provider relief fund created by the CARES Act that was enacted in late March.
This time, however, the funds are targeted to providers across the board, not only those who treat a bulk of the Medicare population. Whereas the initial release of $30 billion was tied to historical Medicare payments, the new funds are based on a percentage of all-payer data.
This second release is part of HHS' promise to supply funds to providers and hospitals that may have missed out on large cash receipts from the initial disbursement. In this release, HHS is basing the share of relief payments on the "revenue data [providers] submit in CMS cost reports," according to the agency.
"This will entail a significant rebalancing for many providers," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in an April 22 remark. "For example, one large children’s hospital received an initial distribution of $233,000; this new general allocation will send that provider an additional $32 million."
The payments are expected to start flowing to providers on April 24. "Payments will go out weekly, on a rolling basis, as information is validated," Azar said.
Azar noted that providers and hospitals who previously provided CMS with 2018 cost reports will receive their portion of the funds automatically. Other entities who have not shared their 2018 revenue information will have to submit that information to HHS through a special portal before they'll be eligible.
But even those whose cost reports are on record will have to verify that information through the HHS portal. Azar indicated that his agency would have a reporting mechanism in operation this week. At press time, Part B News could not verify that an active portal was up and running. (Editor's note: Please check back for updates on this evolving situation.)
In a separate piece of the provider relief fund, HHS has delayed the deadline for hospitals that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for payments. In that case, HHS is allocating $10 billion to hospitals in areas of the country with high rates of disease prevalence. You can find a direct link to the application process for that part of the relief effort here:
It remains unclear how HHS is dividing the $20 billion among health care providers. The first wave divvied up the funds by allocating to providers 6.2% of their 2019 Medicare payments. HHS has not announced details on what percentage of 2018 all-payer revenue it will use as a basis for the second wave of relief funds.
Blog Tags: COVID-19, HHS
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