The long-awaited Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Funding (PRF) post-payment reporting instructions were released September 19, then updated on October 22, 2020. These new instructions mark a shift from the FAQs originally included as part of the funding distributions. On September 19, 2020, HHS issued instructions for reporting on the use of PRF distributions. These instructions, reflecting the Department’s balancing of dual objectives, limited the applicability of funds to an amount that would allow most providers to be no more profitable in 2020 than in 2019. At the time, HHS concluded that it would be inequitable to allow some providers to be more profitable in 2020 than 2019, while so many other providers struggled to remain viable.
The September 19, 2020 reporting instructions placed a limitation on the permissible use of PRF money that HHS had not previously articulated, although previous guidance did not preclude the establishment of such a limitation in the future. This change generated significant attention and opposition. There was a consensus among stakeholders who reached out to HHS that the PRF should allow a provider to apply PRF payments against all lost revenues without limitation. In consideration of this feedback, HHS has amended its reporting instructions in the Notice of October 22, 2020 to provide for the full applicability of PRF distributions to lost revenues. Click here for an overview of the updated instructions as of the October 22, 2020 notice. The Program compliance supplement to be out this fall will also undoubtedly provide more guidance for all providers as to reporting.