Member Alert April 29: KDPH Releases New Guidance on Requesting PPE

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has released a new fact sheet, available here, in response to Gov. Beshear’s “Healthy at Work” initiative for the reopening of healthcare services. At this time, only emergent PPE requests to support direct COVID-19 patient care will be considered. This guidance is specific to the following PPE:

  • N95 Masks
  • Isolation Gowns
  • Face Shields
  • Surgical (Droplet Masks)
  • Examination Gloves
  • Coveralls

For more information, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.

HHS Provider Relief Fund Updates

  • General Allocation Program

On April 24, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new round of funding from the $100 billion that Congress allocated to hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (Provider Relief Fund).

As a reminder, on April 10, an initial $30 billion was provided to clinicians and facilities based on their proportion of Medicare fee-for-service spending in 2019. HHS is now delivering an additional $20 billion to all physicians who received payments during the first round of funding. This subsequent payment, together with the initial payment received from the first tranche, is being allocated for general distribution and will be proportional to the physician’s 2018 net patient revenue, which provides greater assistance to physicians with lower volumes of Medicare patients. Payments will be sent out weekly, on a rolling basis, as information is validated, with the first wave being delivered on April 24, 2020.

KMA has produced a one-page handout, available here, for physicians regarding details about the General Allocation Program and the allocation of these funds. The information is available to members as an informational resource. KMA expresses no opinion as to the feasibility, applicability, or impact to your practice.

  • Uninsured Program

In addition to the $50 billion for the General Allocation Program, another portion of the $100 billion Provider Relief Fund, known as the Uninsured Program, will be used to reimburse healthcare providers, at Medicare rates, for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured. Physicians are eligible for this funding. Every health care provider who has provided treatment for uninsured COVID-19 patients on or after February 4, 2020, can request claims reimbursement through the Uninsured Program and will be reimbursed at Medicare rates, subject to available funding. Steps will involve enrolling as a provider participant, checking patient eligibility and benefits, submitting patient information, submitting claims, and receiving payment via direct deposit.

Providers can register for the Uninsured Program on April 27, 2020, and begin submitting claims in early May 2020. For more information, visit coviduninsuredclaim.hrsa.gov.

Congress Replenishes Loan and Grant Programs

On April 23, Congress passed a bipartisan “Interim Economic Relief” agreement that contains $480 billion in new COVID-19 funding assistance. Specifically, the legislation includes an additional $320 billion for the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), after the program exhausted the original $350 billion in funding within two weeks. The PPP provides forgivable loans to physician practices to cover payroll and other operating expenses. Given the high demand for such loans, physicians are encouraged to contact their banks/lenders as soon as possible to optimize their chance for the new funding.

The bill also adds $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program as well as another $10 billion for the EIDL Advance Grants. EIDL and EIDL Advance Grants can be used to assist physician practices with payroll expenses, accounts payable, and other operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

Finally, Congress allocated an additional $75 billion to the existing $100 billion designated for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, also known as the Provider Relief Fund. This program is specifically designed for physicians and hospitals by providing lump sum payments for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the coronavirus. These are funds that, like PPP monies, do not have to be repaid. HHS guidance regarding how the $75 billion will be distributed is expected in the coming days.

For more information on these and other loan/grant programs for physician practices, please visit kyma.org/covid19.