Archive for October, 2020


Coronavirus Update for Monday, October 26

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 3:45 p.m. on Monday, October 26.

Provider Relief Fund:  Webcast on Phase 3 General Distribution

  • Applications for the Provider Relief Fund Phase 3 general distribution are now being accepted by HHS.  HHS will hold a webcast on Monday, November 2 at 3:00 p.m. (eastern) for interested parties.  Go here to register for the webcast and to submit questions.  Providers considering applying for Phase 3 general distribution funds that did not view the previous webcast should participate in this one in anticipation of the November 6 application deadline.  Also available are a fact sheet and a presentation about the Phase 3 general distribution.


Provider Relief Fund:  Financial Reporting

Last week we reported on HHS’s updating of its most recent Provider Relief Fund financial reporting instructions that broadened how fund recipients may use those funds.  That report was accompanied by an HHS policy memorandum and amended reporting requirements.  For providers interested in how HHS is defining parent entities in this update, the amended reporting requirements document includes the following explanation:

Reporting Entity: Entity (at the Tax Identification Number (TIN) level) that received one or more PRF [Provider

GAO Calls for More Work Scrutinizing Hospitals’ Tax-Exempt Status

The question of whether non-profit hospitals are doing enough to justify their tax-exempt status is the focus of a new Government Accountability Office study on the manner in which the Internal Revenue Service evaluates hospitals’ tax exemption.

According to the study, the IRS struggles with one of the three primary criteria for non-profit hospitals’ tax-exempt status outlined in the Affordable Care Act (PPACA):  whether the community benefit such hospitals provide justifies their tax exemption.

The GAO review observed that

While PPACA established requirements to better ensure hospitals are serving their communities, the law is unclear about what community benefit activities hospitals should be engaged in to justify their tax exemption.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identified factors that can demonstrate community benefits, but they are not requirements.  IRS does not have authority to specify activities hospitals must undertake and makes determinations based on facts and circumstances.  This lack of clarity makes IRS’s oversight challenging. Congress could help by adding specificity to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

The GAO report also notes that

…according to IRS officials, hospitals with little to no community benefit expenses would indicate potential noncompliance.  However, IRS was unable to provide evidence that it conducts reviews related

Coronavirus Update for Thursday, October 22

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 22.

Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS has announced that it is updating its most recent Provider Relief Fund reporting instructions to broaden how past fund recipients may use those funds.  See that announcement here.  In September HHS announced changes in instructions that had originally been issued in June, but with this announcement it appears the agency is restoring its June instructions.  In making this decision, HHS wrote that

As providers, provider organizations, and members of Congress familiarized themselves with the reporting requirements, HHS received feedback from many voicing concerns regarding this approach to permissible uses of PRF [Provider Relief Fund] money. In response to concerns raised, HHS is amending the reporting instructions to increase flexibility around how providers can apply PRF money toward lost revenues attributable to coronavirus.

Go here for HHS’s policy memorandum on its reporting requirements decision and go here to see the amended reporting requirements.

  • HHS also has announced that it has expanded eligibility for the upcoming Phase 3 general distribution to include a variety of provider types that have not previously received any Provider Relief Fund distributions.  See

HHS Webinar Thursday

The Department of Health and Human Services will hold a webinar on Thursday, October 22 at 1:00 (eastern) about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ recent guidance explaining how it will implement an interim final rule that makes the collection and reporting of COVID-19 data a condition of participation in Medicare for hospitals.

On August 24 CMS published an interim final rule establishing new requirements in the hospital conditions of participation in Medicare and on October 6 HHS published the updated document “COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQs For Hospitals, Hospital Laboratory, and Acute Care Facility Reporting.”  Among the data elements hospitals are required to report are their current count of lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients, number of staffed beds, number of occupied ICU beds, and information about personal protective equipment and ventilators.

The purpose of the webinar is to explain to providers how HHS will implement these requirements.

Go here to register for the webinar.…

Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, October 20

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20.

Provider Relief Fund

HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQ with a new question that appears on page 46 and is marked “Added 10/15/2020.”  The new question is An organization has prescription sales as part of its revenue.  Can these sales be captured in the data submitted as a part of revenue from patient care?”  The answer is “Generally no, prescriptions sale revenue may not be captured as part of revenue from patient care.  Only patient care revenues from providing health care, services, and supports, as provided in a medical setting, at home, or in the community may be included.  Patient care revenues do include savings obtained by providers through enrollment in the 340B Program.”

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services