HHS: Burden Of Proof On Provider Relief Recipients When Reporting

Inside Health Policy

July 8, 2021 3:12 pm

Provider relief recipients will not receive an extension beyond Sept. 30 to report use of their relief funds and the burden of proof is on them to show they used the money to prevent, prepare for and respond to the pandemic, HHS staff said Thursday (July 8) during the first COVID-19 relief reporting webinar. Those with provider relief not spent by June 30 will have until Oct. 30 to return the unspent funds to HHS.

Providers waited nearly six months before the provider relief reporting portal went live last week. HHS opened the complete portal and supporting documents after hospitals, providers and lawmakers spent weeks asking the department to extend the provider relief spending deadline, which is tied to the reporting requirements, beyond Wednesday (June 30). HHS stopped short of a complete extension in guidance released June 11 and tied spending and reporting deadlines to when providers received their relief.

Providers who received $10,000 or more in relief before June 30, 2020 will have a hard deadline of Sept. 30 to report how they used their relief over the past year, said staff from the agency in charge of distributing the funds, Health Resources and Services Administration.

“You may not receive an extension on the deadline to report. If you do not report by the deadline, you will be deemed out of compliance with the terms and conditions of the payments and may be subject to recoupment,” HRSA staff said during the webinar.

Meanwhile, it’s up to providers to explain why they used provider relief for certain expenses and to make up for lost revenue due to COVID-19. Providers will have 30 days to respond to HRSA if it determines the provider’s calculation is not reasonable.

“So the burden of proof is on the provider to ensure that documentation is maintained to show that expenses are in fact to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus,” HRSA staff said.

The next webinars on the provider relief reporting portal will be July 14 and July 20.