CMS offers new details on how providers must report COVID-19 relief funds to Medicare

A sticky note says Medicare on top of a pile of money
Providers must report revenue from their COVID-19 relief funds in their Medicare cost reports, an updated Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidance said. (Getty/Steve Dunning)

The Trump administration has added new guidance on how providers can report to Medicare certain types of COVID-19 relief funding.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an updated frequently asked questions (PDF) document late Wednesday.

The document looks at how providers can report money they received from a $175 billion COVID-19 relief fund passed by Congress under the CARES Act. Providers have to submit a Medicare cost report that details cost and financial information to help CMS determine whether Medicare over- or underpays a provider.

Information from the cost report is used to help determine a hospital’s wage index, adjustment for disproportionate share hospital payments and more.

Every provider must report any payments they get in their cost report’s statement of revenues for informational purposes.

A provider should also not adjust the expenses on their cost report based on the payments they received.

Any recipients of the relief funding must use the money to prevent, prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to replace revenue lost by the pandemic.

CMS also said that if a provider gets a loan from the Small Business Administration through the Paycheck Protection Program, they must put how much they got on their Medicare cost report.

So far, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has doled out more than $100 billion in relief funds out of the $175 billion Congress passed. HHS has doled out $50 billion in general funds to all providers and targeted distributions to safety net hospitals, facilities in COVID-19 hot spots and rural providers.

Provider groups have implored Congress to pass more relief funding as the pandemic has forced patient volumes to drop across the country at physicians' offices and hospitals. But talks have stalled between Congress and the White House.