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HRSA Extends Initial Reporting Period for Provider Relief Fund Money

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ACP joined with other medical groups in requesting an extension of the reporting deadline, explaining that many physicians were unaware of the requirement

April 15, 2022 (ACP) -- The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) extended the reporting period for practices and clinicians to detail how they spent the first tranche of Provider Relief Fund money.

Practices and clinicians can now submit a request to report late due to extenuating circumstances for the first reporting period from Monday, April 11 to Friday, April 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The request form will be available starting on April 11, 2022.

The American College of Physicians has been advocating for such an extension, but this extension may not be long enough and lacks clarity in certain key areas, said Shari Erickson, ACP chief advocacy officer and senior vice president.

ACP, the American Medical Association and other medical groups sent a joint letter to HRSA on March 31, 2022, requesting an extension of the reporting deadline for at least 60 days. The new 10-day timeframe for requesting a late submission due to extenuating circumstances may be too tight, Erickson explained.

“We also asked HRSA to engage in a targeted and significant outreach campaign to reach practices that have yet to comply, so they have an opportunity to do so,” she said.

The reporting requirements and deadline may hit smaller practices harder as they lack the infrastructure, systems and staffing to keep track of money more effectively, and many are still overwhelmed by caring for COVID-19 patients, Erickson noted.

By way of background, the Provider Relief Fund was one of the relief programs initiated in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided monies to practices to compensate for lost revenue and keep their doors open. The funds did not need to be repaid, but practices were required to account for payments exceeding $10,000 or face clawback. HRSA recently started sending out email notices to physicians who missed the initial reporting period, stating that they will need to repay the monies as a result.

According to Erickson, many physicians were unaware of the requirement or the deadline because they did not receive the notifications.

“Practices now have to submit this request and then presumably wait for the reporting portal to be opened for them, and they would have to submit the report within those 10 days, but this is not entirely clear,” she said.

She added there is also a lack of clarity in terms of what guidelines HRSA will use to decide if the extenuating circumstances are sufficient to allow late reporting.

Extenuating circumstances may include severe illness or death, natural disaster, lack of receipt of reporting communications from HRSA, failure to click submit, an internal miscommunication or error and/or incomplete targeted distribution payments, HRSA states.

If a request is approved, the practice or clinician will receive a notification to proceed with completing the report from HRSA. Practices and clinicians will have 10 days from the date the notification is received to submit a report in the PRF Reporting Portal.

HRSA did not state how they plan to notify the practices. In the past, they emailed practices, but many did not receive such notifications.

Members should be on the lookout for letters from HRSA regarding reporting requirements. ACP has also tried to notify members about the reporting requirement deadlines. Practices and clinicians who are registered in the PRF Reporting Portal should complete registration before submitting their request. Registration instructions can be found on the PRF Reporting webpage.

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Back to the April 15, 2022 issue of ACP Advocate