On September 19, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its updated instructions FAQ regarding reporting of COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds (PRF) related expenditures and revenue losses. The instructions include significant changes from the previous HHS guidance provided June 19, in particular a provision that changes the calculation for lost revenues and stipulates that hospitals could apply PRF payments toward lost revenue only up to the amount of their 2019 net patient operating income. This could significantly affect hospital’s ability to retain needed PRF payment. We are concerned the change will disproportionately impact critical access hospitals and other small rural hospitals and hospitals that had expanded services prior to the onset of the COVID-19 emergency. We encourage members to contact their U.S. senators and representatives, asking them to urge HHS to reinstate the earlier guidance. More information is in the AHA Action Alert.
In addition, the American Hospital Association has written HHS, urging that it adopt the previous instructions that had been previously communicated and relied upon by hospitals. More information is in AHA’s special bulletin. HHS has stated that the reporting portal shall be open starting January 15, 2021. We are monitoring the situation closely will continue to make information available to members of new developments. (Andrew Busz, firstname.lastname@example.org)