HHS on Saturday released reporting requirements for healthcare providers that received COVID-19 grant funds.
Providers that received more than $10,000 in grants will have to report on how they spent funds on coronavirus-related expenses and lost revenue. HHS previously delayed statutorily required reporting deadlines, and the guidance was released more than a month later than was originally expected to allow time for provider feedback, the agency said.
HHS had previously said that providers would be able to start filing reports in October, but now says the reporting system will be available starting in "early 2021."
The July notice stated that providers that received more than $10,000 will have to account for all the grant funds they spent in 2020 by Feb. 15, 2021. If healthcare providers don't spend all the grant funds by the end of 2020, they will be required to submit a final report on the remaining funds by July 31, 2021.
The new guidance document outlines data elements providers will be expected to include in their reports. Expense reporting will be more detailed for providers that received $500,000 or more.
Eligible expenses include mortgage and rent, insurance premiums, personnel, fringe benefits, lease payments, utility bills, personal protective equipment and medical supplies, technology upgrades and facility renovations. Information about personnel, patient and facility metrics will also be required.
The $10,000 reporting threshold is a notable change from the statutory requirement in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which required detailed reporting disclosures from any entity that had received more than $150,000 in total funds from any COVID-19 relief legislation.
Providers that spent more than $750,000 in government assistance will also be subject to single audit requirements.
As of late August, HHS had announced funding distributions for $118.4 billion out of the $175 billion that Congress allocated for the Provider Relief Fund, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. CMS Administrator Seema Verma told Modern Healthcare that HHS has withheld some of the funds to account for evolving needs.
"As things change with the virus, there's an evolving strategy, and we try to target the funds where it's most needed," Verma said.