Capito, Colleagues Urge HHS to Reevaluate Reporting Requirements for Rural Hospitals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in raising concerns with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar about changes in reporting requirements, which have the potential to create financial hardships and uncertainty for hospitals across the country, especially those operating in rural areas.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our health care providers need more certainty, not less. The CARES Act, enacted in March 2020, established the PRF to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to the coronavirus. Hospitals and other providers received funds and have budgeted accordingly,” the senators wrote. “However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and providers continue to face uncertainty in terms of loss of revenue from delayed procedures and care as well as increased expenses related to COVID-19.”

Senator Capito was joined in sending the letter by fellow Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), David Perdue (R-Ga.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

The full letter may be found below or by clicking here.

Dear Secretary Azar:

We write today with concern regarding the Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements published on September 19, 2020. We have grave concerns this change in reporting requirements for funds received from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) will create uncertainty and financial hardship for hospitals in our states, particularly in rural areas. In the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, our health care providers need more certainty, not less.

The CARES Act, enacted in March 2020, established the PRF to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to the coronavirus. Hospitals and other providers received funds and have budgeted accordingly. However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and providers continue to face uncertainty in terms of loss of revenue from delayed procedures and care as well as increased expenses related to COVID 19.

Based upon the impact of these changes to access to health care, we urge you to carefully consider any policies that disproportionately affect rural and safety net hospitals.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com