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June 18, 2021

Health Law Weekly

Health Care Providers Get More Time to Spend COVID-19 Relief Funds

  • June 18, 2021

Health care providers will have more time to spend their COVID-19 relief funds received after June 30, 2020 under revised reporting requirements issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Under the revisions, the deadline for using unspent Provider Relief Funds (PRF) is now tied to when payments were received rather than requiring all payments be used by a set date—June 30, 2021.

Recipients of Provider Relief Funds (PRF) also will have 90 days, instead of only 30, to complete reporting, HHS said.

The revised reporting requirements apply to providers who received one or more payments exceeding $10,000 in the aggregate for each payment period, rather than $10,000 cumulatively across all PRF payments.

Under the revisions, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes that received PRF distributions now also are subject to the reporting requirements.

“These updated requirements reflect our focus on giving providers equitable amounts of time for use of these funds, maintaining effective safeguards for taxpayer dollars, and incorporating feedback from providers requesting more flexibility and clarity about PRF reporting,” said Health Resources and Services Administration Acting Administrator Diana Espinosa.

In a recent hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra signaled the agency would issue revised guidance to provide more flexibility regarding the PRF.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act and other COVID-19 relief legislation allocated $178 billion to the PRF.

In May, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers sent a letter to Becerra asking HHS to extend the deadline for spending PRF money. The lawmakers also urged HHS to distribute remaining PRF funds as soon as possible.

Hospital groups, including the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Federation of American Hospitals, also urged HHS to extend the deadline.

“The AHA thanks HHS for listening to our concerns and extending the deadline for hospitals, health systems and other health care providers to use this critical relief funding. Today’s announcement to give some health care providers more time to spend emergency coronavirus funding will help to ensure that hospitals and health systems can continue the battle against COVID-19 as cases persist,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement.