HHS Provider Relief Funds Program: My Experience
By Caroll D. Koscheski, MD, FACG
Member, ACG Legislative & Public Policy Council
Gastroenterology Associates, P.A.
The CARES Act included $100 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide grant funding for the expenses and lost-revenues due to COVID-19. Many ACG members recently received checks from CMS based on your 2019 services. The total amount of funding for providers available through this program is $50 billion. The initial distribution was $30 billion. The second portion of the distributions is $20 billion. Unlike the first portion of this program, however, the second portion requires an application.
Click here for more background.
Click here to begin the application process.
HHS announced last week that the attestation deadline is extended for providers to acknowledge receipt of payments and accept the terms and conditions. You will now have 45 days, increased from 30 days, from the date you receive a payment to attest and accept the Terms and Conditions or return the funds.
I found that application is pretty straightforward and available online. Please involve your accountants. You will be asked about lost revenue for March and April 2020, compared to 2019. The other tax information will come from your 2018 tax return (not 2019).
If the total amount received from these combined programs is $150,000 or greater, you must submit a quarterly report with the total amount of assistance received, along with current use/projected future use of these funds. Keep separate records regarding the use of these various funds making sure that you don’t list the same use of funds from different programs for the same reason. Of note, funds provided under the HHS Provider Relief Funds Program are to be used “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” with funds to be used only for health care related expenses or lost revenues attributed to the COVID-19 crisis. While this is certainly more flexible than the Paycheck Protection Program, you still need to clearly meet these requirements. Once again, involve your accountants. They will help you navigate through the multiple programs.
Caroll Koscheski, MD, FACG