HHS Announces Providers Can Use Provider Relief Fund Payments for Vaccine Distribution

On October 28, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated the Provider Relief Fund FAQs on Use of Funds to provide that healthcare providers can use payments received from the Provider Relief Fund to pay for equipment, personnel and transportation costs to be used to support distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine licensed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, these funds cannot be used for expenses and losses related to vaccine distribution that have been reimbursed from other sources that are already obligated to reimburse such expenses, including Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). These new FAQs join other recent guidance from HHS regarding which expenses and losses providers can legally count toward the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund grants.

HHS Updates Provider Relief Fund Distribution Reporting Requirements

On October 22, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it had updated its final reporting guidance originally published in September. The update includes clarification that, for purposes of relief payment for lost revenues attributable to COVID-19, recipients must submit information showing a negative change in year-over-year net patient care operating income. The updated FAQs on reporting can be found here and the HHS policy memorandum on the reasons for the change can be found here.  

CMS Issued Extensive Updates to its Medicare Billing FAQs

CMS updated the COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing  by adding or updating the following numerous FAQs for the following areas of billing:

  • Laboratory Diagnostic Services, FAQs 9-13.
  • Hospital Outpatient – Locations Off Campus, FAQs 2-17
  • Hospital Outpatient Therapeutic Services Furnished In Temporary Expansion Locations, FAQs 1-3
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Services, FAQs 1-3
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), FAQs 12-15
  • Medicare Telehealth, FAQs 2-4, 15, 23, 36-42
  • Scope of Practice (All New!), FAQs 1-4
  • Additional Flexibility under the Teaching Physician Regulations (All New!), FAQs 1-5
  • Medicare Shared Savings Program – Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), FAQs 10-27
  • Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs), FAQ 3
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Services, FAQs 2-10
  • Skilled Nursing Facility Services, FAQs 5-6
  • Home Health, FAQs 7-13
  • Durable Medical Equipment Interim Pricing in the CARES Act (All New!), FAQs 1-6
  • Medical Education (All New!), FAQs 1-4
  • Applicability Dates of Provisions in Second Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) (All New!), FAQ 1

The latest FAQs have a “New” or “Updated” date of 6/19/20.