Attestation Begins After HHS Disbursement of First $30 Billion CARES Act Provider Relief Funding

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Clinicians and practices across the country that received funds via direct deposit on April 10 can now complete the required attestation process after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) disbursed $30 billion directly to eligible Medicare providers out of the $100 billion Provider Relief fund created by the recent COVID-19 relief package, the CARES Act.

HHS is distributing these funds to hospitals and physician practices in direct proportion to their share of 2019 Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) spending. The total amount of Medicare FFS spending in 2019 was $484 billion.

Your ACC advocated strongly for financial support for practices and institutions in a letter on April 6, and joined with the AMA and other medical societies to amplify that message in a letter several days later.

All facilities and health professionals that billed Medicare FFS in 2019 are eligible for the funds. These are payments, not loans, and do not have to be repaid.

It is important to note that the funds will be paid via Automated Clearing House account information on file with UHG, UnitedHealthcare, or Optum Bank, or used for reimbursements from CMS, not to each individual physician.

Automated payments will come via Optum Bank with "HHSPAYMENT" as the payment description. Providers who normally receive a paper check for reimbursement from CMS will receive a paper check in the mail for this payment within the next few weeks.

For more details about the allocation visit this page, and read Terms and Conditions for receipt of the funds, which must be completed within 30 days of receiving the payment. The portal for signing the attestation is available here. Recipients attest to caring for patients with actual or possible cases of COVID-19 and that funds will be used "to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, and shall reimburse the Recipient only for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus." Costs for physical protections (e.g., PPE) and technology solutions (e.g., telework) fit this definition. Cancelling/reducing services to protect patients and staff is a preventative and preparatory response eligible for reimbursement to the extent that lost revenue is attributable to coronavirus. Further, HHS indicates on the relief website that "HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19."

According to HHS, additional targeted distributions are in the works "that will focus on providers in areas particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, rural providers, and providers of services with lower shares of Medicare FFS reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population. This supplemental funding will also be used to reimburse providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured Americans."

Clinical Topics: COVID-19 Hub

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Fee-for-Service Plans, Medicare, Medicaid, Medically Uninsured, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S., COVID-19, Postal Service, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, United States Dept. of Health and Human Services, Filing, Health Personnel, Societies, Medical, Financial Support, Financial Management, Coronavirus, Coronavirus Infections

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