The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, providing $100 billion in relief funds to hospitals and healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response, amongst other provisions.
The CARES Act created the Provider Relief Fund, which reimburses healthcare providers for lost revenues and increased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are being distributed by the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) section of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Through this program, $50 billion in funds is available for general distribution and the remaining $50 billion for targeted distribution. These payments are grants, not loans, and will not need to be repaid if certain terms and conditions are met. A complete list of the terms and conditions for Provider Relief Fund distributions can be found on the HHS website.
General Distribution Qualifications
To be eligible for the general distribution, a healthcare provider must have billed Medicare in 2019 and provided diagnosis, testing, or care to individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19 after January 31, 2020. Some healthcare providers may have already received a payment from HRSA as $30 billion was distributed prior to April 24, 2020. These funds were paid in proportion to the healthcare provider’s Medicare fee for service reimbursements in 2019.
These initial payments did not require an application nor engagement activity, however, within 30 days of receiving the funds, the provider must sign an attestation confirming receipt and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment. Should a provider choose to reject the payment, they must also complete the attestation to indicate this. If the payment is not returned within 30 days of receipt it will be processed as accepted, and in turn, the terms and conditions will be viewed as accepted as well.
For those that received general distribution payments prior to April 24, 2020, a CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Application Portal has been deployed by HHS to collect information from healthcare providers. There are four pieces of information needed to allocate the remaining general distribution funds, which can be found on the HHS website.
The remaining $20 billion of the general distribution began dispersal on April 24, 2020, ensuring the program properly allocates each healthcare providers’ share proportionally based on its 2018 net patient revenue.
Targeted Distribution Qualifications
The CARES Act also provides $50 billion for targeted distributions to:
- Hospitals disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
- Healthcare providers who treated the uninsured with COVID-19
- Rural providers
- Indian healthcare service providers
- Other healthcare providers such as skilled nursing facilities and other Medicaid providers
Eligibility details and application instructions for these distributions can be found on the HHS website along with additional information regarding the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Alternatively, this information is available via the CARES Provider Relief line at (866) 569-3522.
If you have any questions regarding the CARES Act or need assistance with the application, please reach out via email, give us a call at (401) 921-2000, or fill out our online contact us form.
For additional information, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.