Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reports are due September 30, 2023, and LeadingAge has heard from some providers who have had audit findings that disallow certain reported PRF expenses. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) does not appear to have a process for correcting reports based off audit findings and as such, has instructed these providers to return the funds associated with the disallowed costs.
For example, a provider may have erroneously reported all of their mortgage payments made during the pandemic. While HRSA notes that a mortgage payment may be an allowable expense, a provider’s existing mortgage is not an eligible COVID-related expense. An example of a mortgage payment that may be eligible for reimbursement with PRF/ARP Rural funds might be for a project that was initiated to address or prevent COVID, such as the building of a new isolation wing. Therefore, we encourage providers to carefully review the expenses they plan to report to ensure that reported expenses are related to preparing for, responding to or preventing COVID-19.
HRSA suggests asking these two questions when trying to determine whether an expense is allowable:
Is this expense necessary and reasonable to support patient or client care efforts to prevent, prepare for, or respond to coronavirus
Is this expense incurred consistent with our organization’s policies and procedures?
There must be a connection between the expense incurred and efforts to prevent, prepare for or respond to COVID-19.
Finally, HRSA made an important change to the use of lost revenues for future reports after RP5. For reporting period 6 and beyond, providers will only be able to apply PRF and ARP rural funds to COVID-related lost revenues incurred up to June 30, 2023. Therefore, once a provider has reported all their lost revenues up to that point on previous reports, the provider will be limited to reporting on COVID-related expenses only.