Coronavirus update for Friday, May 8 as of 2:30 p.m.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has updated its general distribution FAQ for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.  The updated FAQ includes items that are identified as new.  Among other things, it clarifies that HHS will not generally seek to recoup payments as long as providers’ lost revenue and increased expenses are greater than any payments in question.  The FAQ also instructs hospitals on what they should do if they believe they received a mistaken payment or an overpayment.
  • HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has updated its FAQ on how it will apply its administrative enforcement authority to arrangements directly connected to the COVID-19 emergency.  The new guidance specifically outlines conditions under which a clinical lab could offer remuneration to a retail pharmacy for costs incurred running test sites during the COVID-19 emergency.


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


CMS and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities

Today CMS sent to subscribers the latest edition of its publication MLN Matters (not yet available online) in which it announced flexibilities for inpatient rehabilitation facilities during the COVID-19 crisis.  The following is that notice, presented verbatim.

CMS is exercising regulatory flexibilities for Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to waive the 60 percent rule.

We are also waiving IRF coverage and classification requirements if all of these criteria are satisfied:

  • Patient is admitted to a freestanding IRF to alleviate acute care hospital bed capacity issues
  • IRF is located in an area that is in Phase 1 or has not entered Phase 1; see Guidelines for Opening Up America Again

Add the following letters at the end of your unique hospital patient identification number (the number that identifies the patient’s medical record in the IRF) to identify patients eligible for each waiver:

  • D- 60 percent rule
  • DS- Coverage and classification requirements
  • DDS- Both 60 percent rule and coverage and classification requirements

For More Information:

Also from the latest MLN Matters and also presented verbatim:

COVID-19: IRF Interdisciplinary Team Meetings During the Pandemic

CMS expects Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) to hold in-person weekly interdisciplinary team meetings to discuss Medicare Part A fee-for-service patients. During the public health emergency, it may be safest to conduct meetings electronically. We will accept all appropriate forms of social distancing precautions.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC has issued guidance on how laboratories, including hospital laboratories, should report the results of their COVID-19 testing to their local or state health department.  The guidance includes specific information about the formats and codes labs should use when submitting their data.

National Institutes of Health


Food and Drug Administration


Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

The National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.