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Update: CAREs Act - Provider Relief Fund from HHS

Update: CAREs Act - Provider Relief Fund from HHS

04/17/2020  |  Client Services

Update: CAREs Act - Provider Relief Fund from HHS

On April 10, 2020, many physician practices woke up to a large bank deposit labeled as “HHSPAYMENT” from OPTUM Bank..  Many providers believed this to be the result of your approved application for the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program that was made available through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). However, that electronic deposit was a completely separate fund that was made under the CARES Act Relief Program Grant Fund Payments delivered by Health & Human Services (HHS).

Per the information on the HHS web site these payments are not a loan & will not need to be repaid.  However, physicians are required to take action. Within 30 days of receiving the payment, an attestation must be electronically completed confirming receipt and agreement to the terms and conditions of the payment. A CARES Provider Relief Fund web portal for completing the attestation is now open as of April 16, 2020. As part of the terms and conditions, hospitals and physicians who attest to the grant payment will have to submit quarterly reports detailing how those funds were used. 

The question of who may qualify for this stimulus money has been, up until this point, unclear and a major concern amongst all physicians. A recent statement released by HHS contains the following, which seems to remove any question of eligibility: 

“If you ceased operation as a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic, you are still eligible to receive funds so long as you provided diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID – 19. Care does not have to be specific to treating COVID – 19. HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID – 19.” 

If the physician receives the payment and cannot comply with the terms and conditions,  then the practice must contact HHS by calling the CARES provider relief at 866-569-3522 within 30 days of receipt of the payment and return the payment in full to HHS as instructed.  This may not be done on the web portal.

Failure to attest OR to return the payment will result in an automatic attestation and the physician’s agreement to the funds terms and conditions.  A provider may opt to refuse all or a portion of the money, but this must be done with in the 30 day time frame. 

We will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available. Please note that this in an evolving situation and the information shared today is subject to change as HHS provides further clarification.


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