HHS Extends Public Health Emergency

The Secretary of Health and Human Services has officially extended the declaration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), which was set to expire July 25th.  The extension prolongs the emergency designation by 90 days, preserving important regulatory flexibilities supporting clinicians during the pandemic. For a list of waivers and flexibilities available during the PHE, CLICK HERE.

HHS Begins Clarifying Reporting for Provider Relief Fund

Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued notices to recipients who received $10,000 or more in Provider Relief Funds (PRF) on the timing of future reporting requirements.  Although the notice does not provide detailed instructions related to reporting requirements, HHS does announce that this information will become available by August 17th, 2020.

The upcoming instructions will provide directions on reporting obligations applicable to any provider that received a payment from the following PRF distributions:

General Distributions:

  • Initial Medicare Distribution – or the first round of $30 billion in funding
  • Additional Medicare Distribution – or the second round of $20 billion in funding
  • Medicaid, Dental & CHIP Distribution

Targeted Distributions:

  • High Impact Area Distribution
  • Rural Distribution
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities Distribution
  • Indian Health Service Distribution
  • Safety Net Hospital Distribution

The HHS notice explains that, following the release of the reporting instructions and data collection template, recipients will be able to begin reporting on October 1st, 2020.  HHS also released reporting deadlines that are based on when the PRF are spent:

  • All recipients must report within 45 days of the end of calendar year 2020 on their expenditures through the period ending December 31, 2020.
  • Recipients who have expended funds in full prior to December 31, 2020 may submit a single final report at any time during the window that begins October 1, 2020, but no later than February 15, 2021.
  • Recipients with funds unexpended after December 31, 2020, must submit a second and final report no later than July 31, 2021.

HHS explains that the instructions and related templates will be available on the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) website by August 17th and HRSA intends to hold a Q&A Webinar on the process before the submission deadline.

Paycheck Protection Program Application Extended, Congress Considers More Updates

Earlier this month, the President signed legislation extending the application deadline of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) until August 8th.  With billions still left to distribute, Congress is considering more adjustments to the program to provide further relief to small businesses.  These proposed updates include automatic or streamlined forgiveness for loans under a certain amount and allowing businesses to apply for a second PPP loan. Several stand-alone bills modifying the PPP have already been introduced but it seems likely that further PPP adjustments will be incorporated into the next coronavirus relief package, expected to be passed by mid-August. For more information on the PPP, CLICK HERE.

As always, ADVOCATE will continue to keep you informed on the issues impacting medical groups as they develop.

Kayley Jaquet
Manager, Regulatory Affairs