Are You Up to Date? COVID-Era Relief Programs Issue Warnings
Healthcare attorney Melissa Wong was quoted in a Part B News article about COVID-19 federal relief programs that are still expecting payment or attestations from enrolled participants. A number of these programs, including a Medicare administrative contractor (MAC), have started warning providers about missing payments. Ms. Wong explained that "providers can sometimes be confused about the different types of COVID-19 relief funds that they may have received a few years ago during an admittedly chaotic time.”
Ms. Wong said they may be confused about their Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments, which were not expected to be paid back but required attestations to account for the proper use of the money, as well as their Paycheck Protection Payment (PPP) loans. The PRF payments were distributed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the PPP loans by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “Providers may have thought that their PRF funds were forgiven, when in fact that was a PPP loan, or that they are unsure whether CMS is still recouping payments made under the COVID-19 Accelerated and Advance Payments Program,” she said.
Moving forward, Ms. Wong recommends that healthcare providers keep diligent records of loan recipients. “Providers should continue to maintain records of their receipt of COVID-19 relief funds, any submitted reporting, and the appropriate back-up on the use of those funds, even beyond the support worksheets that were provided to assist providers with required PRF reporting. This information may need to be referenced in the event of an audit, for tax purposes, or for potential corporate M&A diligence in the future," she concluded.
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