The deadline for physicians who treat Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) patients to apply for federal Provider Relief Funds has been extended to Aug. 28.
The original deadline was Aug. 3; the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department announced the extension on July 31.
HHS in June made $15 billion in funds available to Medicaid and CHIP physicians and providers, part of the second round of emergency grants Congress allocated from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Provider Relief Fund payments “will be at least 2 percent of reported gross revenue from patient care,” HHS has said.
To be eligible, physicians and health care providers must not have received any payments from previous relief funds paid to physicians who participate in Medicare. Also, they must have billed their state Medicaid/CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans directly for health care-related services between Jan. 1, 2018, and May 31, 2020.
Importantly, HHS also announced that physicians and providers who have been excluded from the relief funds because they received any prior federal payments – even less than $10 – also will be able to apply starting Aug. 10 through Aug. 28. The Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and other physician organizations vigorously advocated for this change.
In July, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) urged physicians to apply for the funds, saying that, at the time, less than 5% of the state’s 27,351 eligible health care professionals had applied for funds. However, applications for the fund had been low, in part, because of this requirement.
In its announcement, HHS also noted it will soon be providing a simplified application form “in response to ongoing dialogue focused on improving the provider experience.”
To help you make informed decisions for your practice during the pandemic, TMA has published a Practice Viability Toolkit that provides up-to-date information and resources. The toolkit includes a section on cash flow, including loan assistance, lines of credit, payment deferrals, loan refinancing, and loans from private banks.
You can find the kit and other tools, resources, and information on the practice viability section of the TMA COVID-19 Resource Center.