HHS reporting requirements create uncertainty for rural hospitals, says Blackburn

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) led a bipartisan group of colleagues to request changes to certain hospital reporting requirements published last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Specifically, the lawmakers said that they “grave concerns” about Sept. 19 published changes to the Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements for funds received from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), which they said will create uncertainty and financial hardship for hospitals around the country, particularly in rural areas. 

“In the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, our healthcare providers need more certainty, not less,” Sen. Blackburn and her colleagues wrote in an Oct. 9 letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March, established the PRF to reimburse eligible healthcare providers for healthcare-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to the pandemic, according to their letter.

“However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and providers continue to face uncertainty in terms of loss of revenue from delayed procedures and care, as well as increased expenses related to COVID-19,” they wrote. “Based upon the impact of these changes to access to health care, we urge you to carefully consider any policies that disproportionately affect rural and safety net hospitals.”

Among the lawmakers who joined Sen. Blackburn in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Burr (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).