nurse at computer

Long-term care providers have gotten their wish and now have more flexibility to spend federal coronavirus relief funds after the Department of Health and Human Services eased reporting requirements for payment recipients. 

HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, announced Friday afternoon that the new reporting window for the Provider Relief Fund will be calculated from the time funds are first received. Providers had been required to spend all of their relief funds by then or return any unused portions by June 30, 2021.

Long-term care providers had demanded federal action on the Provider Relief Fund ahead of the former June 30 deadline. The American Health Care Association welcomed HHS’ updated requirements after requesting a wider reporting window.

“These extensions by HHS regarding the use and reporting of aid received through the Provider Relief Fund is welcome news to the long-term care profession,” Mark Parkinson, AHCA president and CEO, said in a statement Friday. 

“We greatly appreciate the administration recognizing that our battle with COVID-19 is not over yet, and that our ongoing efforts require ongoing resources. We now strongly encourage the agency to distribute the remaining funds and to dedicate a significant portion to long-term care, which has been the epicenter of the pandemic and now face imminent closures without additional aid,” he added. 

Among updates, providers also now have a 90-day period to complete reporting rather than the previous 30-day reporting period.  The reporting requirements are also now applicable to those who received relief funding from the Skilled Nursing Facility and Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution in addition to general and other targeted distributions. 

Additionally, the PRF Reporting Portal will now open for providers to start submitting information on July 1, 2021. 

“These updated requirements reflect our focus on giving providers equitable amounts of time for use of these funds, maintaining effective safeguards for taxpayer dollars, and incorporating feedback from providers requesting more flexibility and clarity about PRF reporting,” Diana Espinosa, HRSA acting administrator, said in a statement. 

The full revisions can be found here.