Healthcare Providers to Receive CARES Act Emergency Relief Funding Immediately
The Department of Health and Human Services announced April 10 that it is immediately beginning to distribute $30 billion of economic relief to eligible healthcare providers feeling the strain of expenses and lost revenue due to COVID-19. The funding is part of the healthcare-focused provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which designated $100 billion to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.
However, the announcement about the initial distribution of funds came with little advance warning from HHS, leaving many providers grateful yet surprised. Nearly all providers, whether they are individuals or entities that bill Medicare, should receive a payment.
Here are the details about these funds:
- This is a payment, not a loan, so no repayment is required.
- Payments will be received via Automated Clearing House (ACH) using the account information on file either with CMS or UnitedHealth Group (UHG), the distribution agent selected by HHS. If providers do not typically receive ACH deposits, they will receive a paper check.
- The payments will be from Optum Bank and will have “HHSPayment” as the payment description.
- The amount of the initial payment is based on the provider’s share of total Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements, which were $484 billion in 2019. To calculate the amount, a provider should divide their 2019 Medicare FFS billings by $484 billion to determine a percentage and then multiply this percentage by $30 billion to estimate the payment amount. As a quick rule, for every $1 million in FFS billings, expect approximately $61,000.
- Payments are based on the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). This means the payment will come to the group and not the individual physician (except for solo practitioners where the individual physician is the group/TIN).
The remaining portion of the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund will be distributed at the discretion of HHS based on their assessment of areas and providers particularly impacted by COVID-19 and/or providers with a high proportion of Medicaid patients. The fund will also be used to reimburse providers for COVID-19 care provided to uninsured patients.
It’s important to note that there are some terms and conditions for receiving these payments. An attestation form will need to be completed, but details on the process are not yet available. It is likely that the recipient will also have to complete a quarterly report that details the funds received and their usage. Until details become available, it would be wise for providers to begin – or continue – tracking the impact of COVID-19 upon their practice.
As more information about these economic relief efforts become available, we will provide updates. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your KSM advisor or complete this form.
Keeping you updated on COVID-19 and its impact on businesses and individuals.