With a Sept. 30 deadline to submit information on COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds, health care providers have just a few weeks left to meet the reporting requirements, which require a sizable investment of time and energy.
To meet the deadline, providers should start to plan, prepare, and submit their data to the Provider Relief Portal. To assist hospitals with this effort, Wipfli recommends approaching it in five strategic steps:
1. Learning and understanding
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released many pages of FAQs, reporting guides, and supporting information tover the past 18 months. Hospitals should:
- Review the Notice of Post-Reporting Requirements document released on June 11.
- Discern exactly how much HHS Provider Relief Funding their organization received from April 2020 through today.
- Make sure they are registered through Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) for all entities who will report on funds received.
2. Data collection and documentation
This is one of the most challenging steps for many providers.
Start working on completing data elements such as metrics, survey questions, and budget documentation.
Start thinking deeply about COVID-19 expenses incurred over the previous 18 months. Have discussions with department leaders about all those items and expenses that may not be as obviously related to the pandemic.
It’s important to note that how hospitals file data in Period 1 could impact their ability to retain funds received in the remaining periods or be eligible for possible future distributions.
3. Data review and discussion
Because it can be confusing and daunting to dig through all the data so hospitals can retain as much of the Provider Relief Funds as possible, yet still meet HRSA terms and conditions, they should:
Designate a small group to be involved in discussions about COVID-19 expenses and make sure their methodology is sound, well documented, and complete.
Wipfli highly recommends having outside support for these efforts. Accounting and consultative costs associated with HHS reporting should be considered valid COVID-19-related expenses.
4. Data revision
Once confident they have arrived at the overall plan and methodology for reporting, hospitals will want to make any revisions to data that are deemed prudent or necessary. If a hospital is subject to single audit, proper process and documentation of this phase will be especially important to streamline the ease of that activity in the future.
5. Data entry and submission
While this may seem like the simplest step of all, a few key steps can save time:
- Start entering data or responses in the portal at any point in time and save work at each step.
- Do “print screens” or “screen captures” for every section of the portal. This will serve as good internal documentation.
How Wipfli can help
Their dedicated health care team can help to focus your efforts and build a strategy that spans all the reporting periods that may impact you. An expanded version of this article can be found on the Articles and E-Books section of the Wipfli website.
About the author
For over 15 years, Natalie has helped organizations achieve their objectives by implementing process improvement, data analytics, and technology solutions. Natalie’s previous roles include major account sales, director of marketing, inside sales manager, and other operational leadership titles within industrial equipment, software, and pharmaceutical companies. Natalie also has significant experience in project management, change management, data analysis, and strategy development. She recently became a certified public accountant to bring greater value to her holistic client approach.
Natalie utilizes her background to help deliver world class solutions to our clients through consulting & advisory services, CFO services, research & experimentation tax credits, accounting services, business valuations, mergers and acquisitions, as well as IT risk assessments and cyber security.
Contact Natalie at (314) 480-1226 or Natalie.HilfikerRoberts@wipfli.com