WASHINGTON – On Monday, U.S. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-IA-02, and Cindy Axne, D-IA-03, applauded the updated guidance issued late last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives healthcare providers more time and flexibility to use financial assistance provided by Congress.
In May, Axne and Miller-Meeks led a bipartisan group of 77 members urging HHS to extend the original June 30th deadline for hospitals and other health centers to use their portions of the $178 billion in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) relief approved by Congress in 2020.
“This past year has reminded us how critical access to healthcare is for our families — and how indispensable our health centers are to protecting our communities. I commend HHS for hearing the wide concerns that myself and my colleagues conveyed to them earlier this year, and for extending the deadline for the majority of our providers who are still navigating tough financial circumstances after a very demanding year,” Axne said in a released statement. “While effective, widely available vaccines are protecting more and more Americans every day from COVID-19, our healthcare providers have been clear – the fight against COVID-19 is not over. These new guidelines from HHS will help ensure that assistance we made available to them last year is not severed while providers are still treating patients and facing higher prices for the equipment they need to keep Iowans safe.”
“I applaud HHS for giving flexibility to healthcare providers who are still working hard to combat COVID-19. Ensuring that providers have access to these COVID-19 relief funds is critical for their financial well-being and ensuring they can continue to provide critical care to their communities,” Miller-Meeks said in a released statement. “As a doctor and the former Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I know the challenges our providers are facing. We must support them as we come out of this pandemic so they can continue their work to keep us safe and healthy.”
Last Friday, HHS announced updated Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements for healthcare providers who received assistance from the PRF. The new guidance includes key changes that will ensure providers have at least a full year to use their award and more time to complete reporting requirements.
The new guidance will:
- Base the deadline to use funds on when payment is received while making sure providers have at least twelve months to use that payment.
- Previously, all payments were required to be used by June 30, 2021, regardless of when they were received.
- Under the new guidance, payment deadlines will depend on the time period the payment was made.
- Rather than reporting cumulatively across all payments, direct recipients would report each payment received period in which they received total payments in excess of $10,000.
- Extend the window to complete reporting requirements from 30 days to 90 days.
Miller Meeks is a co-sponsor of Axne’s Eliminating the Provider Relief Fund Tax Penalties Act, which would ensure that all healthcare providers, regardless of taxpaying status, will not be subject to taxes on aid provided through the PRF – and guarantees expenses attributable to the PRF are tax-deductible.