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NEW Funds for Providers! Under the leadership of President Trump, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments.
The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has released new guidance on the reporting requirements for physicians and practices that received Provider Relief Fund payments. Here are the websites that detail that information.
A: Yes, if you have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, you can submit an Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application to reweight any or all of the MIPS performance categories. Keep in mind that if you fill out this application requesting relief, you must also be prepared to provide justification of how your practice has been significantly impacted.
A: Yes, as of June 8, 2020, HHS announced enhanced provider portal, relief fund payments for Safety Net Hospitals, Medicaid and CHIP providers. Clinicians that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and/or Medicaid and CHIP managed care organizations who have not yet received General Distribution funding may submit their annual patient revenue information to the enhanced Provider Relief Fund Portal to receive a distribution equal to at least 2 percent of reported gross revenues from patient care. This funding will supply relief to Medicaid and CHIP providers experiencing lost revenues or increased expenses due to COVID-19. Examples of providers, serving Medicaid/CHIP beneficiaries, possibly eligible for this funding include pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists, dentists, opioid treatment and behavioral health providers, assisted living facilities and other home and community-based services providers.
Application information can be located here.
A: Providers who received payments through the Provider Relief Fund may be eligible for a second round of funding from the Provider Relief Fund. They must apply for these funds on the following link: https://covid19.linkhealth.com/docusign/#/step/1. President Donald J. Trump signed the bipartisan CARES Act that provides $100 billion in relief funding to hospitals and health care providers. Providers who have already received payments from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund may be eligible to receive additional funds. Providers who have already received payments from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund must attest to each payment associated with their billing Taxpayer Identification Number(s). In addition, providers who have already received payments will need to upload their most recent IRS tax filings as well as estimates of lost revenues for March and April 2020.
A: No. As an exercise of the Administrator’s and the Secretary’s authority under Section 1106(d)(6) of the CARES Act to prescribe regulations granting de minimis exemptions from the Act’s limits on loan forgiveness, SBA and Treasury intend to issue an interim final rule excluding laid-off employees whom the borrower offered to rehire (for the same salary/wages and same number of hours) from the CARES Act’s loan forgiveness reduction calculation. The interim final rule will specify that, to qualify for this exception, the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire, and the employee’s rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower. Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of re-employment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation. For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, see the Treasury Department's FAQs.
A: Yes. On April 10, HHS began issuing provider relief funding via direct deposit and checks to hospitals and other healthcare providers to support expenses or lost revenue as authorized by the CARES Act. These are payments, not loans subject to repayment. They are available to all providers and facilities that received Medicare fee for service reimbursement in 2019. HHS partnered with UnitedHealth Group and Optum Bank to distribute the funds according to information on file with United, Optum, or Medicare. Within 30 days of receiving the payment, providers must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment. You may also choose to reject the funds. If you received these funds, you should review the eligibility and requirements available at https://www.hhs.gov/provider-relief/index.html. The portal for attestation/rejection is open via the same link.
A: HHS partnered with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to deliver the initial distribution to providers. Physicians who believe they should have received funds but did not can contact UHG’s Provider Relations at (866) 569-3522.
UHG representatives can answer questions about eligibility, whether payment has been issued and where it was sent. UHG is continuing to issue disbursements and expects to complete the direct deposit payments by the first week of May.
A: This helpful fact sheet does a great job of explaining the different programs that are available. There are four options available through the Small Business Administration (SBA):
A: The OSHA document available here contains valuable information related to common COVID-19 citations, particularly as it related to the General Duty Clause.
A: Question 56 has been updated to the revised definition.
A: The CDC offers strategies to limit violence towards workers that may occur when the practice put in place policies and practices to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 among employees and customers. These policies may include requiring masks to be worn by employees and customers, asking customers to follow social distancing rules, and setting limits on the number of customers allowed in a business facility at one time.
A: With several states requiring a shelter-in-place order, employees are concerned about being stopped by police when they travel to and from work. This draft sample letter can be used by employers for their employees that are working for an 'essential' business.
Essential Worker Sample Letter (letter will download automatically when you click the link)
A: There are no new requirements for employers. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has always required employers, including medical practices, to assure safe and healthful working conditions. OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 can be found here.
A: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements went into effect April 1, 2020. This Act requires employers with less than 500 employees to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
A: Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website. Additional questions regarding the poster may be found at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-poster-questions
A: We recommend you follow the CDC guidance in this regard.
A: Again, CDC is providing excellent guidance which we recomment you follow. They continue to update this page as new information is learned.
A: From a HIPAA standpoint, employees should treat patient information with the same privacy and security as they would in the office. The current relaxation of Security guidelines only relates to Telehealth. Practices must include employees working remotely to their Security Risk Analysis in order to remain compliant. Additionally:
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