Chief Mike McEvoy and Evan Davis, IAFC
If your fire department provides EMS transport and bills for service, you likely received supplemental funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Provider Relief Fund (PRF) this year in the form of CARES monies. These dollars were intended to cover new expenses and lost reimbursements as a result of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Earlier this week, CMS released guidance on when and what reporting you will need to do. The upcoming reporting period, generally applicable to departments that received more than $10,000 in PRF-funding, allows you to share information on how these funds were used. If you accepted funding from the CMS PRF, the deadline to report your expenditures to CMS is February 15, 2021.
Earlier this Spring, Congress passed the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136), which contained funding to support Medicare suppliers and providers in responding to COVID-19. The PRF automatically disbursed these funds via direct deposit to Medicare suppliers and providers based on their 2019 Medicare fee-for-service receipts. Among the PRF Terms and Conditions for these payments was a requirement that recipients report data to CMS on the use of these funds.
On January 15, 2021, CMS will open their portal for agencies to report on their uses of PRF funds. CMS is seeking information on your agency’s lost reimbursements and new expenses directly attributable to the COVID-19 emergency. CMS also is requiring recipients to provide biographical information including basic agency identifying information, other assistance your agency may have received (such FEMA grants or PPP loans), and non-financial information such as your agency’s number of personnel, patients, and facilities.
It is important to note that CMS likely will gather this information based on each recipient’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Similar to the initial PRF distributions, this may cause confusion as fire departments have a unique National Provider Identification number, but share a TIN with other municipal entities that bill CMS on a fee-for-service basis. If your agency’s PRF funds initially were routed to your municipal treasurer’s office or another office, you may need to collaborate with the other municipal entities that share the TIN when submitting this reporting.
CMS is requiring all PRF reports to be filed by February 15, 2021. If your agency will not have spent all of the PRF funds by December 31, 2020, a supplemental report must be submitted to CMS by July 31, 2021, to explain any PRF-funded expenditures in 2021.
CMS has a one-page summary of the reporting rules available as well as a more detailed guide on the PRF reporting rules.
Mike McEvoy, PhD, NRP, RN, CCRN, is the EMS chief for Saratoga County, N.Y., and chair of the EMS Section
Evan Davis is a strategic government relations manager for the IAFC.