Physicians may have to return up to $250K in federal pandemic aid

Physician practices that received much-needed financial assistance to recover from pandemic losses may be required to return the funds if they didn't meet reporting requirements, according to a report in Bloomberg Law.

The federal government gave $100 million to healthcare providers, including many independent physician practices, from the Provider Relief Fund. But HHS reported that about 10,000 procedures didn't comply with reporting requirements outlined by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Funding recipients had to report through a specific portal by Nov. 30, 2021.

HHS notified noncompliant physicians March 10 that they had 30 days to repay the funds, which range from about $30,000 to $250,000, but many of the penalized practices contend the owners didn't realize there was a reporting requirement. Several physician societies, including the American Medical Association, sent a letter to HHS asking for the agency to reopen the reporting period for 60 days.

The letter states many physicians and practices weren't contacted about the reporting requirement, and in some cases administrative staff were out of the office with COVID-19 during the initial reporting period. Others reported staff challenges and turnover meant the federal government's point of contact left the physician office, and messages to that individual were lost.

 

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