The federal government's $30 billion in COVID-19 relief grants to Medicare providers are subject to terms and conditions that raised questions for many ASCs, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.
One item stipulated that providers must be "currently" serving individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19 to keep the grants. ASCA contacted HHS for clarity about whether ASCs are still eligible for the funds if they're not directly serving COVID-19 patients, and as a result, HHS updated the provider relief website with this statement:
"If you ceased operation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are still eligible to receive funds so long as you provided diagnoses, testing or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19. Care does not have to be specific to treating COVID-19. HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19."
HHS also updated the terms and conditions to remove the word "currently" from the aforementioned stipulation, which is in the second bullet point.
HHS began distributing the grants April 10, giving providers 30 days from receipt to sign an attestation and agree to the payment terms and conditions. Those who do not agree to the terms and conditions will be obligated to return the full payment to HHS.
Providers can check the status of their grants by visiting hhs.gov/providerrelief or by calling (866) 569-3522.