Providers that have received and retained CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments have agreed—either explicitly through attestation or implicitly through retention of funds—to report on their use of those funds and cooperate with any audits. Reporting time frames vary based on the date the funds were received.
PRF Reporting Period 1 – One Last Chance
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) required any providers that received $10,000 or more in PRF funds between April 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, to submit a completed report on the use of those funds by November 30, 2021. According to HRSA’s Reporting Non-Compliance Fact Sheet, any provider that missed this deadline is considered non-compliant with the applicable Terms and Conditions. HRSA promises to “officially notify all non-compliant providers alerting them of their non-compliant status with instructions on how to remediate their status (if applicable).”
HRSA now is affording providers one final opportunity to submit their Reporting Period 1 reports. The PRF Reporting Portal re-opened December 13 and will remain open until December 20, 2021, (11:59 p.m. Eastern) “for the completion or submission of reports for Reporting Period 1.” Also, any providers wanting to correct a mistake in a prior submission may do so by contacting the Provider Support Line (866-569-3522) to gain access to their previously submitted reports.
Any provider that remains non-compliant will be required to return all PRF funds received by June 30, 2020. HRSA intends to seek repayment of any unreturned funds. Also, non-compliant providers will be excluded from receiving or retaining any additional funds, including Phase 4 distributions.
PRF Reporting Period 2
Reporting Period 2 (for funds received between July 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020) begins January 1, 2022, and will continue through March 31, 2022. Presently, it is unclear how much, if any, information from Reporting Period 1 will roll over into Period 2. HRSA indicated during its webinars that it would try to make the process as user-friendly as possible so prior lost revenue and expense calculations would pre-populate. We will see whether HRSA was successful when the portal opens on January 1.
Any changes to the contact information associated with a portal account between reporting periods should be updated to ensure receipt of communications regarding reporting. According to HRSA’s Reporting Portal FAQs:
This may be accomplished by logging into the portal using your username, reCAPTCHA [i.e., “I am not a robot” checkbox], Tax ID Number (TIN), and password, and accepting the terms and conditions. Upon successful login, a landing page will display Active Reports and Inactive Reports. When a reporting period is not open and your report has been locked, your report will display under the Inactive Reports tab. You will be able to view your inactive report, and this is where you will be able to update your contact information. Upon selecting the inactive report, you can update contact information by clicking the ‘Update Contact Information’ button. This will not change contact information in a previously submitted report, but the updated contact information will be pre-populated in future reports.
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural Funds and PRF Phase 4
Every provider that checked the ARP box as part of their PRF Phase 4 Funding application and served at least one rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare beneficiary from January 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020, will receive ARP rural funds. HRSA began distributing these funds (mostly by direct deposit) on November 23, 2021.
On December 14, HRSA announced the distribution of $8.72 billion in PRF Phase 4 funds to 69,051 providers. According to HRSA, the average payment for “small providers is $58,000, for medium providers is $289,000, and for large providers is $1.7 million.” HRSA is currently reviewing the remaining Phase 4 applications and intends to make the remainder of Phase 4 payments in early 2022.
ARP rural fund and PRF Phase 4 recipients must attest to the receipt of the funds and agree to the accompanying Terms and Conditions within 90 days of payment receipt. A provider is deemed to have agreed to those Terms and Conditions if the provider retains the funds but does not submit a timely attestation.
Recipients of these funds must use those funds by December 31, 2022. They will be required to report on their use of funds between January 1 and March 31, 2023.
Audits and Enforcement Actions
HRSA has made clear its intention to audit and pursue enforcement actions against PRF recipients that violate the applicable Terms and Conditions. In fact, those Terms and Conditions require full cooperation with any such future audits.
To date, there has been limited enforcement activity relating to PRF Funds, including a handful of cases involving false certifications of eligibility and improper use of funds for personal purposes. The Office of Inspector General Work Plan includes an audit of General Distribution applications and payments, expected to be completed in early 2022.
It appears HRSA is gearing up for audits, having thus far contracted with three organizations to provide audit services (according to ProPublica COVID-19 contract listings). These include:
- KPMG (program integrity support) – $3,000,557 (signed February 26, 2021)
- Kearney & Company (PRF audit support) – $1,634,856 (signed April 12, 2021)
- Creative Solutions Consulting (audit and financial review services) – $729,310 (signed April 12, 2021)
If you have questions regarding Provider Relief Funds and subsequent reporting requirements, or for assistance with any matter related to compliance, valuation, or strategy and integration, one of our executive contacts would be happy to assist. You may email them below, or call (800) 270-9629.
 The press release indicates that payments will be made starting this week while HRSA’s Current and Future Payments website references December 16 as the initial distribution date.