The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is beginning the delivery of the initial $30 billion in relief funding to providers in support of the national response to COVID-19. This is part of the distribution of the $100 billion Provider Relief Fund provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.
All facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements in 2019 are eligible to receive relief funds. Payments will arrive at these providers via direct deposit beginning April 10, 2020. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers, and will not need to be repaid.
How Funds Will be Paid
HHS has partnered with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to provide rapid payment to eligible providers.
- Providers will be paid via Automated Clearing House account information on file with UHG or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
- Automatic payments will come to providers via Optum Bank with “HHSPAYMENT” as the payment description.
- Providers who normally receive a paper check for reimbursement from CMS will receive a paper check in the mail for this payment as well, within the next few weeks.
- All relief payments are made to the billing organization according to its Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
- Payments to practices that are part of larger medical groups will be sent to the group’s central billing office.
What You Have to Do
- As a condition to receiving these funds, providers must agree not to seek collection of out-of-pocket payments from a COVID-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if the care had been provided by an in-network provider.
- Within 30 days of receiving the payment, providers must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment. The portal for signing the attestation will be open the week of April 13, 2020, and will be linked on the HHS website page: https://www.hhs.gov/provider-relief/index.html.
For more information on the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, how payments are calculated and how this applies to the various types of providers, visit the HHS website at https://www.hhs.gov/provider-relief/index.html.