April 16, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Payor Issues and Reimbursement
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has opened the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Payment Attestation Portal. Physicians who have been allocated a payment from the initial $30 billion general distribution must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agree to the terms and conditions within 30 days of payment.
The $30 billion is part of the $100 billion Public Health and Emergency Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to provide financial assistance to physician practices, hospitals and other providers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
HHS also clarified the terms and conditions in response to organized medicine’s concerns. In agreeing to the terms and conditions of the grants, physicians were being required to attest that they “diagnose, treat or test patients for COVID-19.” The American Medical Association (AMA), on behalf of organized medicine, argued that the language inappropriately narrowed physician use of the funding. In response, HHS has now modified some of the language to make its meaning more clear, stating that every patient is a possible case of COVID-19. The updated terms and conditions can be found here.
A second wave of payments from the CARES Act Public Health and Emergency Fund should be going out soon. HHS said it is working to disburse additional funding to providers with lower shares of Medicare reimbursement (such as pediatricians, allergists and OB-GYNs) and Medicaid providers, and for COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured.
For physicians who believe they are eligible but have not yet received funding, see “Wondering where your HHS stimulus payment is?”