Provider Relief Update

Provider Relief Update

Related to Nursing Home Infection Control payments, the November payments are awaiting OMB approval and once approved, could go out as early as this week.  HHS anticipates a similar number of nursing homes to be eligible in this round as were eligible for October payments, so roughly 70% of the 13,000+ nursing homes eligible for the program. HHS staff suggested the approach to the remaining payments may have changed and that the remaining $1.2B for the incentive payments will be distributed based upon November and December performance. Originally, the incentive payments were to consist of 4 monthly payments and one aggregate payment. It sounds like the aggregate payment may no longer be occurring. This will hurt those nursing homes that were left out of early incentive payments because of data reporting issues but had low rates of infection and could have potentially benefitted from a payment that looked at performance over the four-month period.

Phase 3 Payments delayed:  HHS indicated that further Phase 3 payments are delayed and now are not expected to release another round of payments until the week of January  25.

Members with TIN validation and other approval issues. HHS has continued to try to resolve issues but admits that many issues remain. At this point, it looks like we will need to wait until after the transition to resolve the remaining issues through a future application process or under the Biden Administration.

There will be a Phase 4 application as the recently-passed COVID Relief Bill requires it. The guidance for this next round is being drafted but most likely will need to be completed under the new Administration.

We also heard that PRF reporting is highly likely to be delayed including the launch of the reporting portal, originally scheduled to go live in mid-January with the first reports due Feb. 15. While the lawyers are still pushing to meet the original deadlines, HHS leaders are 95% certain that the reporting will be delayed. You will recall that Congress passed some changes to the program especially redefining how lost revenues are calculated that will impact the reporting process and may be the cause for the delay. Should the reporting be delayed as staff are predicting, it is possible that the content of those reports and the process could also change under the Biden Administration.

New PRF Staff Positions: In good news, OMB approved two new positions within HRSA – Director and Associate Director – for Provider Relief Funds.  We can only assume that having internal staff dedicated exclusively to this work will result in improvements in resolving outstanding issues and future application processes.

 

Questions?

Contact:

David Carter | Director, Health Care Finance & Policy

C 360.888.5702

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January 6, 2021