Provider Relief Fund payments can be used to pay for eligible coronavirus-related expenses that date back to Jan. 1, 2020, even if they received the money after the expenses incurred, according to federal health officials.  

The clarification was detailed by LeadingAge on Wednesday in a new analysis on how long-term care providers can use the PRF funding and the reporting process. The group’s report comes after the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, last week updated reporting requirements for payment recipients.

LeadingAge explained that the flexibility means a provider who received a PRF payment on April 10, for example, can submit uncompensated expenses for personal protective equipment incurred on Feb. 24, 2020, if it was used to prevent, prepare for or respond to COVID-19. 

“In addition, any uncompensated coronavirus expenses and lost revenues from one period can be covered by funds in a future reporting period. Due to this flexibility, there will be overlapping periods of time for reporting,” Nicole Fallon, LeadingAge’s vice president of health policy and integrated services, wrote.

The organization also noted that the agency is still recognizing hazard pay as an approved expense for the remainder of 2021 even though the public health crisis is improving. 

“However, HRSA said providers should have policies or procedures in place defining hazard pay eligibility and providers should be able to demonstrate that the policies are being consistently applied,” Fallon explained. 

She also noted that providers who have unspent PRF money at the end of a reporting period will be required to return the unspent amount through the reporting portal. Details on that specific process have not been provided.