(July 10 – 16, 2020)

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HHS Provides Additional COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund Payments

The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) is providing approximately $4 billion in provider relief payments to certain health care providers facing financial hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately $3 billion of these funds is allocated for safety-net hospitals that serve a large percentage of vulnerable populations. The remaining $1 billion is allocated to eligible rural providers, as well as other providers from certain small non-rural and metropolitan areas. More information can be found here.

IRS Extends CHNA Requirements Deadline

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is providing relief to tax-exempt hospital organizations that are required to meet the Community Health Needs Assessments (“CHNA”) requirements. Notice 2020-56 extends the deadline by which hospital organizations must conduct a CHNA and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the community health needs identified through the most recently conducted CHNA. Under previous guidance, hospital organizations originally had until July 15, 2020. Now, the time for hospital organizations to comply with any CHNA requirements due to be completed on or after April 1, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, is extended to December 31, 2020. More information can be found here.

NPDB Continues Waiver of Query Fees

In order to continue supporting informed licensing, credentialing, privileging, and hiring decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Resources and Services Administration announced that it will continue to temporarily waive user fees for eligible entities making National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”) queries. This fee waiver includes one-time and continuous queries, but not self-queries. This update continues these waivers through September 30, 2020. More information can be found here.

OMB Releases Regulatory Agenda

The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) released its latest Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. Included in this Agenda is a listing of planned HHS regulatory activities, which include, among other things, policy/regulatory revisions made in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, changes to various payment systems and models, modernization of the physician self-referral regulations, updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s enforcement and privacy rules, amendments to the civil monetary penalty rules, strengthening oversight of accrediting organizations, and the revision of safe harbors under the anti-kickback statute.