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Important Items Every Provider Should Know if Accepting the HHS Provider Relief Funds

Client Alert

On April 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued $30 billion to healthcare providers as part of the Provider Relief Fund under the CARES Act.  Providers will have 30 days from the date of receipt to access the HHS portal, attest to the payment, and accept the Terms and Conditions. The Terms and Conditions require providers to take substantial steps to ensure compliance. Here is what every provider should know: 

  • Providers should ensure that they attest on the HHS portal to ensure that the money allocated by HHS is consistent with the amount they received, as HHS will certainly recoup any excess amount and the provider will have an obligation to repay such excess.
  • Providers are required to follow 45 CFR 75.302 with respect to financial record-keeping. Providers must adopt a written policy that includes a documented process for ensuring proper allowability of costs and expenses in furtherance of the Provider Relief Fund Terms and Conditions. 
  • Providers are required to comply with 45 CFR 75.361-365 with respect to record retention requirements. This affords HHS a 3-year lookback opportunity to audit providers’ compliance with the Provider Relief Fund Terms and Conditions. 
  • Providers cannot “balance bill” patients for any COVID-related treatment. All providers must bill patients as if the provider is an in-network provider even if the provider is out-of-network. 
  • The Provider Relief Fund Terms and Conditions contain whistleblower protections.

We anticipate that HHS will audit providers’ compliance. Therefore, we recommend the following: 

  • Identify a compliance officer or individual who will be responsible for these funds.
  • Adopt a written policy and procedure to ensure compliance with the Terms and Conditions. This policy should be incorporated into your Compliance Plan.
  • Adopt a written compliant financial record-keeping process.
  • Adopt a written billing policy and update your Patient Financial Responsibility Form. Under the FFCRA and the CARES Act, private insurance plans are required to waive patient co-sharing payment requirements. Providers should have a documented plan for compliance.
  • Providers that received money under another federal COVID-related program (PPP, EIDL, etc.) must separately account for such funds and maintain appropriate records.

Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Providers must ensure vendors and contractors meet certain requirements in order to allocate Provider Relief Funds to these vendor/contractor expenses.
  • Providers should carefully review Confidentiality Agreements, NDAs, and Severance and Settlement Agreements to ensure that language is compliant with the Terms and Conditions.
  • Providers should carefully allocate appropriate expenses as well as properly document “lost revenues.” 
  • Providers cannot allocated expenses twice to two different funding sources.
  • Providers must develop a strategy to use the Provider Relief Funds in accordance with other COVID-related funding (e.g. PPP, EIDL, etc.)

BMD can provide you with a written policy as well as review your agreements to ensure compliance with the Term and Conditions. For questions or more information, please contact Amanda Waesch at alwaesch@bmdllc.com or 330-253-9185.


Valley National Bank/Trulieve Loan: A Big Step Out of the Shadows

In a late December press release, Trulieve announced that it had secured a $71.5 million commercial bank loan. In addition to the amount of the loan, which may be the largest commercial bank loan to date to a cannabis company, the release prominently identified Valley Bank and featured both a quote from Valley’s Senior Vice President, John Myers, and a description of the Bank’s service platform and commitment to the cannabis industry.

The End of Non-Competes? The Impact It Will Have on the Healthcare Industry

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a proposed rule that, if enacted, will ban employers from entering into non-compete clauses with workers (the “Rule”), and the Rule would void existing non-compete agreements. In their Notice, the FTC stated that if the Rule were to go into effect, they estimate the overall earnings of employees in the United States could increase by $250 billion to $296 billion per year. The Rule would also require employers to rescind non-competes that they had already entered into with their workers. For purposes of the Rule, the FTC has defined “worker” to also include any employees, interns, volunteers, and contractors.”

2022 Healthcare Recap and 2023 Healthcare Check-Up

As the country begins to return to a new “normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many healthcare rules changing on both the federal and state levels as a result. Thus, it is important for healthcare providers and their employers to be aware of these changing rules, and any implications they may have on their practice. Look back on healthcare in 2022 and find a checklist for 2023.

Direct Support Professional Retention Payments

On December 15, the Ohio Senate and House passed House Bill 45, which authorizes the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), in conjunction with the county boards of developmental disabilities, to launch their initiative to issue retention payments to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These retention payments will be distributed quarterly to participating home and community-based waiver providers to address the workforce crisis in the direct provider sector. Governor DeWine needs to sign the Bill to begin the payments, but he is expected to do so by the end of 2022.

Real Estate Investors Position for 2023 Opportunities

Real estate investors weathered another year in a post-pandemic world, with the year closing with yet another interest rate increase coupled with both uncertainty and heightened interest carrying into 2023. Just last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate 0.50 percentage points, shifting the target range to 4.25% to 4.50%. The new level is the highest the fed funds rate has been since December 2007 and marks the seventh rate hike this year. So what does this mean to investors, brokers, lenders, and others in the real estate world? Read a few perspectives below from stakeholders familiar with our BMD clients and the markets in which they do business.