Sunday is the deadline for assisted living operators and all others applying for funding under the Provider Relief Fund phase 2 general distribution allocation to begin the application process by submitting a tax identification number for validation.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced the availability of funds for private-pay assisted living operators on Sept. 1. The monies are made possible through the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the agency said.
The announcement followed one made in June that applied to assisted living operators serving Medicaid beneficiaries. The deadline for those operators to begin applying for phase 2 funding, extended several times, also is Sunday.
Eligible operators applying for the aid will receive an amount equal to 2% of their annual revenue from “patient care,” HHS said.
According to Chris DeMeo, a partner with Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw LLP, HHS prepared this methodology with Medicare and Medicaid providers in mind, so assisted living operators will need to consider carefully what annual revenue can be attributed to “patient care.”
HHS defines patient care revenue for assisted living communities as revenue that supports resident “nutrition, housing, activities of daily living and medical needs, including purchased services,” DeMeo said. He noted that resident fees for accommodations, and revenue from independent living units that are part of larger assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, qualify as patient care, according to the federal agency.
“While this guidance is helpful, an ALF with monthly fees that cover multiple services should take care to isolate those elements of the monthly fee that it feels are clearly within the current guidance, knowing that deliberate ignorance can be a basis for [False Claims Act] liability,” DeMeo said.
HHS preliminarily has determined assisted living communities that are eligible for funding based on information from state licensing boards and information from providers submitted via a data collection portal established by the American Seniors Housing Association, Argentum, LeadingAge and the National Center for Assisted Living. For communities not already on the HHS list, the agency will work with states and others to authenticate eligibility.
HHS has posted previously recorded webinars about the phase 2 application process, answers to frequently asked questions and other information about how to apply for the funding on its website. For updated information and data on the Provider Relief Fund, visit hhs.gov/providerrelief.