July 13, 2021, 5:04 p.m. News Staff — Enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, in March 2020 was widely heralded as providing a lifeline to much of the nation’s workforce, easing the regulatory burden on employers ― especially small businesses ― and supporting various sectors of the health care industry, including physicians.
(It’s worth noting that the AAFP had a hand in crafting the law. In fact, helping to shape the CARES Act and other COVID-19-related legislation is just one of the many ways the AAFP has supported members during the pandemic.)
Just two weeks after the act was signed into law, HHS began disbursing the first $30 billion of $100 billion that Congress allocated to hospitals, physicians, and other health care professionals and facilities in the CARES Act’s Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, also known as the Provider Relief Fund. The funds were intended to reimburse these entities for health care-related expenses or lost revenues attributable to coronavirus.
Fast forward to today, and physicians who received relief payments ― either through general or targeted distributions ― that exceeded $10,000 in aggregate during the first payment period (i.e., April 10-June 30, 2020) are required to report on the use of those funds during the current reporting period (i.e., July 1-Sept. 30, 2021). Failure to do so could result in the payments being recouped.
Reporting must be done through the Provider Relief Fund reporting portal, which requires that the physician first register for a portal account. Fair warning: Registration takes about 20 minutes and must be completed in a single session. Physicians should also note that the portal is compatible only with the most current stable versions of Edge, Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. A user guide is available to walk physicians through the registration process.
Physicians may wish to review the Provider Relief Fund General and Targeted Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements to get started. Other helpful resources can be found on the Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements and Auditing webpage, including a one-pager and a toolkit from the Health Resources and Services Administration, as well as data entry worksheets and Provider Relief Fund General Information FAQs.
Questions can be directed to the Provider Support Line at 866-569-3522; it is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT.
Finally, HRSA will host recorded Reporting Technical Assistance Sessions to help relief fund recipients and other stakeholders navigate the reporting requirements