• CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

    Coronavirus banner

    Updated October 11, 2021

    Information You Need on the Provider Relief Fund

    Phase 4 Provider Relief Funding and American Rescue Plan Rural Distribution

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on September 10, 2021, that a new round of COVID-19 relief funding for physicians and other health care professionals and facilities is obtainable. The agency is making available a total of $25.5 billion across two different programs ― $17 billion for Phase 4 of the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund (PRF) and $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan resources for those who serve rural areas ― to entities that have suffered financial setbacks due to the pandemic.

    The application period for these funds opened on September 29 and will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on October 26. To streamline the process, physicians and other health care entities will apply for both programs using a single application, and the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) will utilize existing Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare claims data to calculate portions of the payments. Further information about the two programs is available from the HRSA website.

    AAFP information resources include:


    Provider Relief Fund Taxability

    Updated IRS guidance on the taxability of the Provider Relief Fund is now in the updated PRF FAQs.


    Other Things to Know About Provider Relief Fund Distributions

    How is money distributed and repaid?

    These are grants, not loans, and do not have to be repaid. Note that the funds go to each organization's TIN that normally receives Medicare payments, not to each individual physician. HHS partnered with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to deliver the stimulus payments, and physicians should contact UHG’s Provider Relations at (866) 569-3522 about eligibility, whether a payment has been issued, and where it was sent.

    The automatic payments come to the organizations via Optum Bank with "HHSPAYMENT" as the payment description.

    Note: If you or your practice did not already set up direct deposit through CMS or UHG’s Optum Pay, you will receive a check at a later date. Practices that would like to set up direct deposit now may call the UHG Provider Relations number.

    What are the next steps?

    Sign the attestation statement within 90 days.

    Physicians who received a payment from HHS as part of the Provider Relief Fund must sign an attestation within 90 days of receiving the payment, confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment.

    Sign the attestation statement »

    Billing entities will need to provide their Taxpayer Identification Number. If you want to reject the funds, you still must complete the attestation form and indicate your rejection of the funds.

    Please direct any questions to the Provider Relief hotline at (866) 569-3522. 

    View the terms and conditions »


    Provider Relief Fund Reporting

    Updated October 11, 2021

    On June 11, 2021, HHS revised the Post-Payment Reporting Requirements for recipients of CARES Act PRF payments. This new version supersedes all previous versions. The revisions expand the amount of time recipients will have to report information and extends key deadlines for expending PRF payments for recipients who received payments after June 30, 2020.

    Details of the revisions can be found on the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Reporting and Auditing webpage and the updated Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements.

    Key updates include:

    • The period of availability of funds is based on the date the payment is received (rather than requiring that all payments be used by June 30, 2021, regardless of when they were received).
    • Recipients who received one or more payments exceeding $10,000 in the aggregate during a Payment Received Period are required to report in each applicable Reporting Time Period as outlined in the table below.
    • Recipients will have a 90-day period to complete reporting (rather than a 30-day reporting period).
    • The reporting requirements are now applicable to recipients of the Skilled Nursing Facility and Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution in addition to General and other Targeted Distributions.
    • Physicians and other health care entities should register in the PRF Reporting Portal in advance of the relevant Reporting Time Period dates. The registration process will take approximately 20 minutes to complete and must be completed in one session. (The portal is compatible only with the most current versions of Edge, Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.) For more information about the registration process, refer to the PRF Reporting Portal User Guide and the Reporting Portal FAQs.
    • The PRF Reporting Portal opened for physicians to start submitting information on July 1, 2021.
    • Because of ongoing COVID-19 disease spread linked to the delta variant, as well as the ill effects of several recent natural disasters, the agency is granting a 60-day grace period to allow physicians and others to come into compliance with their PRF reporting requirements if they fail to meet the Period 1 deadline of September 30, 2021. (See table below.)

    Summary of Reporting Requirements

    Period

    Payment Received Period

    (Payments Exceeding $10,000 in Aggregate Received)

    Deadline to Use Funds

    Reporting Time Period

    Period 1

    From April 10, 2020 to June 30, 2020

    June 30, 2021

    July 1 to Sept. 30, 2021*

    Period 2

    From July 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020

    Dec. 31, 2021

    Jan. 1 to March 31, 2022

    Period 3

    From Jan. 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021

    June 30, 2022

    July 1 to Sept. 30, 2022

    Period 4

    From July 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021

    Dec. 31, 2022

    Jan. 1 to March 31, 2023

    Note: These reporting requirements do not apply to the Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing Program; HRSA’s COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured Program; or the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund.

    *HRSA is granting a 60-day grace period after this deadline to facilitate physicians’ ability to come into compliance with the reporting requirement. 

    HHS has posted the names of payment recipients and their amounts on a public website. AAFP members should work closely with their financial and tax advisers to complete the reporting process.


    Take Action: Funding for Treatment of the Uninsured

    A portion of the CARES Act's $100 billion Provider Relief Fund will be used to reimburse physicians and other health care entities, at Medicare rates, for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured.

    Every family physician and clinician who has provided treatment for uninsured COVID-19 patients on or after February 4, 2020, can request claims reimbursement through the program and will be reimbursed at Medicare rates, subject to available funding.

    Physician services provided to uninsured patients, such as office and emergency visits, including those provided via telehealth, may be reimbursed in this manner. The exact amount available for this fund has yet to be announced.

    To request reimbursements and learn how the program works, visit the COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal.

    View information for uninsured patients on balance billing »