Archive for July, 2020


Coronavirus Update for Thursday, July 30

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has updated its FAQs on its administrative authorities on arrangements directly connected to the COVID-19 emergency with new guidance for providers.
  • HHS has issued a report documenting trends in the use of telehealth by Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 emergency. Find HHS’s announcement about the report and its summary here and go here to see the report itself.


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has announced that it is introducing new procedure codes to enable Medicare and other insurers to identify the use of remdesivir and convalescent plasma for treating hospital inpatients with COVID-19. These new codes go into effect on August 1.
  • CMS has updated its FAQ for providers

Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, July 28

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28.

Senate “HEALS” Act

Yesterday, Senate Republicans introduced the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act (“HEALS”), their proposed COVID-19/stimulus bill.  Health care highlights include:

  • Increasing the time providers will have before CMS begins recoupment of loans made through the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and an extension of the time before providers will need to pay interest on those loans.
  • $25 billion to be added to the CARES Act’s Provider Relief Fund.
  • Extension of the current Medicare telehealth waivers through 2021 or until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Liability protection for health care facilities and providers.
  • A freeze on 2021 Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles at 2020 levels.
  • Additional funding for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, the NIH, CDC, FQHCs, rural health centers, and vaccines, therapies, and diagnostic tools.

NASH sent a more detailed memo about the proposal to its members earlier today.

Department of Health and Human Services

HHS has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ with two modifications on pages 15 that address sharing Provider Relief Fund general distributions with related entities and …

Coronavirus Update for Thursday, July 23

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.

Department of Health and Human Services/CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS has posted information about the financial reporting that will be required of providers that received funding through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Those terms and conditions require providers to submit data documenting their use of the funds and compliance with the terms and conditions.  The HHS post lays out some of the parameters of the reporting and notes HHS will release instructions for Provider Relief Fund reporting by August 17.
  • HHS has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ with 23 additions and modifications.  Among other matters, they:
    • clarify that parent organizations of Provider Relief Fund recipients of targeted distribution payments cannot share those payments among their subsidiary entities;
    • clarify that these payments count toward the $750,000 threshold for determining whether an entity received sufficient federal assistance to be subject to a “Single Audit” (Medicare and Medicaid payments for patient care services do not generally contribute to this threshold), and provide information about a six-month delay in the deadline for submitting the

Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, July 21

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • As announced last week, HHS has begun making its second distribution of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants to hospitals in COVID-19 high-impact areas (“hotspots”) – that is, hospitals that have cared for especially high numbers of COVID-19 patients. According to the agency’s news release,

The second round of funding…was based on a formula for hospitals with over 161 COVID-19 admissions between January 1 and June 10, 2020, or one admission per day, or that experienced a disproportionate intensity of COVID admissions (exceeding the average ratio of COVID admissions/bed).  Hospitals will be paid $50,000 per eligible admission.

HHS has distributed approximately $8.5 billion to such hotspot hospitals so far; a list of recipient hospitals can be found through a link in this HHS news release.  At the same time, HHS has acknowledged that the list is incomplete and is still reviewing COVID-19 admissions data from other hospitals with the intention of distributing another $1.5 billion to additional hotspot hospitals that have not yet received any funding through this latest distribution.

  • In June HHS announced the

Coronavirus Update for Wednesday, July 15

The following is the latest information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has implemented new data reporting requirements for hospitals that took effect today. In some respects, these requirements differ significantly from recent practices.  Go here to see the detailed HHS document “COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQs For Hospitals, Hospital Laboratory, and Acute Care Facility Data Reporting.”
  • HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration has posted a fact sheet on the Provider Relief Fund’s next distribution for Medicaid and CHIP providers. The fact sheet includes information about eligibility criteria and application requirements.  Applications are due July 20.
  • HHS has made three additions to its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ. All are marked “7/14/2020.”  Providers should go here and review the changes carefully.
  • HHS announced a large-scale procurement of rapid point-of-care diagnostic test instruments and tests to be distributed to nursing homes in COVID-19 hotspot areas. This initiative has been described as a one-time procurement of devices and tests targeted to facilitate on-site testing among nursing home residents and staff.  Distribution will begin next week.  Learn more from this HHS announcement.