The doctor’s deadline is approaching to report on the use of COVID-19 emergency cash
The doctor’s deadline is approaching to report on the use of COVID-19 emergency cash

The doctor’s deadline is approaching to report on the use of COVID-19 emergency cash

What’s the news: Doctors who received more than $ 10,000 in single or total payments from the Federal Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to cover COVID-19-related expenses or losses in the second half of 2020 have until March 31 to report on how they spent the money.

Reporting is done through PRF Reporting portal can be found on the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) website, where resources such as webinars and fact sheets can be found to help physicians comply with the requirements.

HRSA, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, says that PRF beneficiaries must have used only payments for eligible expenses, including services rendered and lost revenue for money received from 1 July to 31 December 2020, which doctors had until dec. 31, 2021 to use.

During the program Terms and Conditionseligible physicians must use the money “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus and to related expenses or lost revenue attributable to coronavirus.”

Funding received under the program is considered a grant and not a loan. This means that it will not be repaid unless the terms and conditions are not met or the money was not used before the end of the period – in this case no later than 31 December 2021.

Physicians are barred from using PRF grant money for expenses or losses where another source has or is required to reimburse those expenses or losses.

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If the money is deposited in an interest-bearing account, the earned interest must be reported. If unused funds are returned, the earned interest amount must also be returned, according to HRSA.

If the funds returned were not in an interest-bearing account, “there is no obligation on the provider to return any additional amount other than the payment from the Provider Relief Fund returned,” says HRSA. Learn more from HRSA about return unused funds.

July 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 is considered “Period 2” under the PRF program.

Looking ahead, “Period 3” lasted from January 1 to June 30, 2021. Receipt of all PRF payments totaling more than $ 10,000 during that period must be reported between July 1 and September 30, 2022.

A fourth round of payments was made last month with $ 560 million distributed among 4,100 physicians and non-physician providers.

Why it’s important: The PRF, created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, had distributed $ 42.8 billion to more than 300,000 physicians and other qualified health professionals as of November 2021.

Early in the pandemic, medical practice revenues fell sharply as patient volumes declined. After February 2020, doctors had an average decrease of 32% in turnover, as personal visits fell from 97 per week to 57, according to an AMA study of 3,500 physicians completed in the summer of 2020.

AMA successfully recommended for billions in emergency funding to help medical practices remain viable and continue to provide the necessary care through the CARES Act and subsequent supplementary emergency legislation. The AMA also successfully advocated for legislation to ensure that PRF grants do not count as taxable income.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a negative impact on medical practices in terms of lower revenue and higher costs. While initial federal financial aid programs were helpful to current medical practices, the path to recovery – especially for less physician-owned practices – appears to remain difficult.

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Learn more: For all other questions related to PRF reporting, call the provider’s support line at 866-569-3522; for TTY call 711. The line is open Monday-Friday at 8.00-22.00 CST, but these opening hours are subject to change.

Get comprehensive guidance for doctors from AMA on financial and business operations under COVID-19. It includes one guidance for medical practice financial relief (PDF).

Also check out AMA’s recently updated medical advice to keep your practice open.

Stay up to date with the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines and variants and reliable information directly from experts and medical leaders with “AMA COVID-19 updateCapture each episode by subscribing to AMA’s YouTube channel or the podcast version audio only.

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