Practices can qualify for CARES funding even without COVID-19 patients, HHS says


A portion of an article written by Rich Daly (HFMA senior writer/editor) in the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s April 14th, 2020 Daily Update answers a question that is key to the certifications that physician leaders will be required to attest to in order to keep the HHS Stimulus payments that their groups have or will receive. Given the frequency of changes in policy in today’s environment, it should be noted that future clarifications from HHS could change this advice.

According to the article:


“Physician practices can qualify for recently approved federal funds aimed at bolstering providers even if they don’t have active or suspected COVID-19 cases, federal officials clarified this week.


In response to provider requests, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on April 13 clarified that practices do not need to have suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 patients to qualify for some of the $100 billion in provider payments included in the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The funding covers healthcare-related expenses, lost revenue attributable to COVID-19, and related testing and treatment. The payments do not need to be repaid.


In an update to an HHS page on the CARES Act provider funding, the agency noted, “Care does not have to be specific to treating COVID-19. HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19.”


Many practices had sought clarification of the eligibility criteria because not all have had diagnosed or suspected cases, said Mollie Gelburd, JD, associate director of government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).”

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