News: AHA urges HHS to reinstate COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements

CDI Strategies - Volume 14, Issue 45

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reinstate the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reporting requirements that were initially outlined in the HHS frequently asked questions from June. The June requirements defined both expenses and losses attributable to COVID-19.

In the letter to the HHS, the AHA says that the initial requirements stated lost revenue was “any revenue that […] a health care provider lost due to coronavirus,” should replace the more recent requirements outlined in the HHS’s September notice.

The AHA notes that the “HHS’s new definition will require many hospitals to return PRF funds based on a new formula and set of metrics that are simply unfair and unrealistic.”

The new requirements offer a substantially different definition of COVID-19-related lost revenue than what was previously stated by the HHS, which hospitals have been reporting under since those requirements were released. “This sudden shift is extremely problematic for hospitals, not only for planning and budgeting purposes, but also for accounting, auditing and bond rating purposes,” says the AHA.

In the AHA’s letter, communities rely on the nations hospitals to provide essential public services during emergencies—including this pandemic. “The PRF funds have helped [health systems] continue to put the health and safety of patients and personnel first, and in many cases, ensure they are able to keep their doors open. HHS’s Sept. 19 guidance jeopardizes this position and will come at the cost of access to care for patients and communities,” the AHA writes.

The AHA notes that is stands ready to work with the HHS to resolve these issues.

Editor’s note: The AHA letter can be found here. The September HHS notice can be found here. The June HHS FAQs can be found here. To read all of ACDIS’ coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

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